Eastern cross country transitions to track

Dillan Schorfheide, Sports Reporter

After the women’s track and field team finished second and the men’s team finished first in last year’s OVC Indoor Championships, the two teams are ready to get this year underway.

Some of the runners have already had a start to their running regimen this year from their cross country season, but going from cross country to track does not seem to be causing any problems for those who are taking on that task.

Senior Lea Viano said her only real struggle is the breathing aspect. She said going from outdoor running with fresh air to indoor running takes some adjustments with breathing. She also said that depending on the race, the pace might be faster.

To get ready for some of these fast-paced races, she said the teams do faster-type workouts to get their bodies acclimated.

Erin Howarth, the cross country and distance coach, said she does not think it is hard for the athletes to transition from one season to the other.

“Usually the cross country season lays out an incredible foundation for us to build upon,” she said. “We put in so many miles, so many lengthy workouts that by the time the track workouts and races roll around, it is easier to bite off and chew.”

She also said the training and preparation is not that different, and that the biggest difference for many is the need to get into the race right from the gun in track.

“Cross country often allows you to work your way into the race, perhaps take it a bit slower off the line and move up throughout the race, passing 10-to-15 people at a time,” she said. “But since track races are smaller, you can’t afford to do that quite as much.”

Viano said she is excited for this track and field season.

“With it being my senior year and my last track season, it’s bittersweet but exciting at the same time,” Viano said. “I have been running track for 11 years now. I’m looking forward to competing with my teammates and hopefully bringing home another Conference Champ Title on both women and men’s teams.”

She said she is focusing on making her last track season a successful one. She said she has never been able to compete at a track indoor conference championship, and with Eastern hosting it this year, it is her main goal to be able to compete.

Howarth said the biggest expectation this season is that everyone competes in each race with as much confidence as possible for their coaches, teammates and themselves.

“Those who put in the miles over winter break end up starting off the indoor season with great races, which leads to ample confidence, which leads to tremendous races, which leads to being on the conference team, which often leads to championships,” she said.

Viano said there is some downtime for those who ran cross country before training starts over Christmas break for the track season, but she believes everyone will put in the necessary work and will all be ready for a successful season.

Dillan Schorfheide can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]