Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Bama begins season with SEC opener

While most students spent the winter break relaxing at home, student athletes with competitive seasons in the spring continued to prepare both physically and mentally during their time away from classes.

The men’s and women’s track and field teams were no exception. Each athlete was given a workout plan and was expected to adhere to it over the break. If they slacked during the holiday, it will show this weekend as the teams travel to compete in the Kentucky Invitational just two days after classes resumed.

Sophomore thrower Wilamena Hopkins can speak of the temptation firsthand.

“Over break you have family and certain foods, so it definitely takes a lot of dedication around Christmas time,” Hopkins said. “Not only do you not have your coach there pushing you, but you do not have your strength coach as well. So you have to not only be dedicated but self-motivated.”

The men’s head coach Harvey Glance said he knows conditioning can be fine tuned over the course of the season and rather chooses to focus on the men’s technicalities during this first meet.

“This is what the first meet is about, to see where they are condition-wise as well as technically,” Glance said. “They’re pretty technically sound. That really is going to be the difference sometimes between the talent of an athlete and the heart of an athlete is how they perform in traffic technically.”

Indoor competitions are usually more cramped than outdoor races, which explains the heavier traffic that the athletes have to compensate for.  Typically runners do not have a set lane and crowdedness can become a tactical issue.

“One of the key components to having success is being able to run in traffic,” Glance said. “Indoors there are a lot of bodies out there, and there is only so little time and space to maneuver. You got to make a move at the right time; you got to make sure that when people make their move you don’t panic. You’ve got to be disciplined enough to understand what’s going on around you but at the same time be in control.”

Women’s head coach Sandy Fowler also understands the nature of competition at these indoor meets and the meaning of this first meet of the season.

“It’s important to compete against the best, which is the SEC,” Fowler said. “Secondary to this, the team kind of realizes, ‘Where am I now?’”

As eye-opening as this first meet may be to either team, both still have six weeks to make improvements before the Southeastern Championships on Feb. 25 in Fayetteville, Ark.

“There’s six weeks and six competitions [between this point in the season and the SEC Championships], and our goal on this team is wherever you open up every single meet from this point on, something ought to be better,” Fowler said. “I’m looking for a personal best or seasonal best as we compete towards the SEC Championships.”

The men’s team is also looking to be competitive in the short indoor season that ends in mid-March.

“We will get better; our athletes are determined,” Glance said. “Right now our pre-season ranking is 27th. I don’t know why they keep ranking us worse than we really are. I always want to improve.”

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