The beginning and end of a season can seem to be littered with much uncertainty, but one thing is unwaveringly true: Penn track has no plans of slowing down as the team begins the transition from the indoor to the outdoor season.
While the Quakers are well into their indoor season, there is a much lengthier vision on the horizon for these athletes.
Indoor competition kicked off on Dec. 1, and the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships, which take place on Feb. 23-24, will be the final meet of the winter for many of the Red and Blue. The Quakers, who are at the top of the pack of not only the Ivy League, but the entire nation, will compete at the NCAA Championships, which take place just two weeks later in Birmingham, Ala.
Yet, the Quakers start their outdoor season at the Penn Challenge meet on March 23 — just about a month after Heps and two weeks after NCAAs.
There are numerous differences between the indoor and outdoor seasons. Outdoor track allows for more events due to the space allotted. Indoor’s only throwing events are the shot put and weight throw, whereas outdoor competition has shot put with the addition of the javelin throw, hammer throw, and discus throw. Indoor track includes some shorter distance races due to the smaller track size, and times are generally slower due to wider turns around the corners.
Coach Steve Dolan made it clear that the transition for the Red and Blue from the indoor to outdoor season is one of a progressive nature, and the team doesn’t dwell on the differences between the two.
“Most of these athletes competed in both indoor and outdoor seasons in high school, so the longevity of the sport’s season is not really an issue for them," Dolan said. "Training is more of a lifestyle and a consistent part of their day. It is a healthy routine that they are used to, and a routine that many of them crave.”
As a result of this, Dolan isn't concerned about getting the athletes ready for the spring season.
“We tend to build right into the outdoor season from the indoor season," he said. "A notable break between seasons isn’t good for the mentality for many of these athletes, as the break is not really enough time to lose their competitive edge and get it back in such a short amount of time.”
The outdoor season goes by quickly, so there is truly no time to waste when it comes to training and getting mentally focused. Dolan has high expectations for both the indoor and outdoor seasons, and the goal is the same for the two: obtaining the Ivy League title.
It seems apparent that the competitive edge and strong mentality of the Quakers will carry on from the winter into the spring. Meanwhile, there is still a lot to look forward to as the Red and Blue quickly approach Heps — an exciting prospect considering history was broken by both the men’s and women’s squads at the event last year.