It seems as if the temperatures keep dropping lower each day as the winter months continue, but the energy and determination of the Bethany indoor track and field team has been on a steady increase ever since the season started.
With a team of 11 men and 10 women, Bethany may not be the biggest team at the meets they attend, but when looking at the number, it is clear that small can still be mighty.
“When we go to meets right now, its not just Division III schools – it can be Division II, and we had a lot of Division II schools there the first meet and there were a lot of really good athletes,” said head coach David Ring.
Looking at the statistics from the first meets shows that Bethany was not intimated by the larger schools at all. Almost every event final featured the name of a Bethany athlete along with an impressive time or distance.
“The first couple events were to get those ‘pre-racer’, ‘pre-field event’ jitters out of the way – kind of get back into the swing of things. [The] Big theme for this track season – personally and for a few others – is just getting into general track shape again. Some of us may have done it in the past, but we haven’t done it in a few years or so, so hopefully we can get to midseason form this year,” said junior and multiple event participant Zachary Fick.
‘’It was neat to see how our athletes responded to the challenge and really did well. They did their God given best, and I was really happy for them,” said Ring.
Julio Garcia, who ran his entire high school career, has already had an impressive season for the Bethany Vikings as he holds six school records in various distance events.
“I have been a distance runner for so long now – my whole high school career I was a distance runner. I just loved it more than sprints because, as [a] distance [runner], I feel I can do both long distance, but also sprints and more field events, where as a sprinter, they mainly work on sprints and field events, and it’s harder for them to get into distance. So, as a distance runner, I feel like I can push myself harder than a lot of other athletes,” said Garcia.
After running an impressive 4:43.42 mile at the meet at University of Wisconsin – Stout (which was only seconds behind the winning time), Garcia is more motivated than ever to improve his mile time, which he hopes to get down to four minutes and thirty seconds.
“With four meets left, I feel like I can still improve a whole lot more and completely destroy what I have already started out in running the mile time-wise,” said Garcia.
While Garcia and the rest of the team all have personal bests they want to set come season’s end, they know in order to get to those, they have to put in extra effort and try new things in practice to have the edge over the competition.
“We have been doing a few more technique drills more than anything. Basically getting our spins down for the weight throw – that has been a big thing – trying to get more than one spin around. Also, with the shot put, just getting height. And doing a bit of core type workouts has been helping too,” said freshman shot put and weight throw participant Miriam Henning.
With only a handful of meets left before the outdoor season begins, meets are becoming more crucial. Despite this, the Vikings keep their one goal in mind.
“The athletes and I have talked about it, and our goal is to get second in conference this year. Now that might be a big step. We know we can’t beat St. Scholastica – they have 90 people on their team, and with 90 people, they can get so many points in so many areas we can’t yet, but every other team in the conference is possibly beatable, but we’ll see how we do as the season progresses,” said Ring.
The Vikings travel to Winona, Minn. tomorrow, Feb. 8, for the Cardinal Open/St. Mary’s Invitational.