Behind the scenes of track meets

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By Addison Stanton

And They’re Off// Runners take their warm up laps as they prepare to compete in their events. This invitational meet took place at Silverado High School, and it had more than fifteen schools competing. (Photo by Addison Stanton)

Track meets are quite the adventure. They are known not only for their intense events, but also for the extensive amount of preparation and time it takes to complete the meet. The build-up that plagues athletes while they wait is said to be torturous. While most athletes love their sport, depending on the event schedule, an extreme amount of waiting can occur.

“I run the 100m dash and the 200m dash,” sophomore Tia Garr said. “What is annoying is how the 100 is usually the third event of the meet and the 200 is the third to last event.”

Runners are supposed to stay for the whole meet; however, some decide not to. Typically, they will wait and watch their friends run all their events. The schedule for the meets usually does not change. It opens up with the 4x800m relay and ends with the 3200m (2 mile) meter run. Some might think that relays would be right after each other, but they are actually spread throughout the meet. For runners, there are usually 6 events, and for field athletes, there are 6 events as well. 

Each event has a different amount of heats. Before the run, athletes check-in at a table so they will get their heat and lane number. Heats are what separate runners so not everyone is going at once. Some events have more heats than others, like the men’s 100 meter dash. On the other hand, girls’ hurdles only have about three heats. Heats are organized by how fast the runner completes the run. If the runner’s time is fast then they will be in the first heats and run towards the beginning of the event. At the beginning of the year, heats are typically chaotic and hard to set up since there are no new recorded times for athletes.

“I usually run in the first heat for the 800 meter run,” junior Sloane Vuckovic said. “For the 800 invitational meet, there are usually 8 people that run per heat. For the 800 non-invitational meet there can be 16 people per heat.” 

Regionals also play a huge role in meets. To qualify for regionals, the athlete has to have a certain time, and the field athletes must have a certain distance jumped, thrown, or vaulted. For example, the female 800 meter dash runners must run under 2:40 and the male 800m must have to run under 2:10. These times or distances are what members of the track team try to aim for. Invitational meets are also a huge part of track. Typically, the coach will decide who would be best to play and represent the school. However, in some cases, athletes have to make a certain time or distance to qualify.

Track meets are quite the adventure, and the wait is worth it for many of Coronado’s proud athletes. It is always helpful to have a basic understanding of what is going on at the meet. Even if it is just a small understanding, some understanding is better than none.