The Ferris track and field team has had a successful indoor season so far, despite having to run outside in the harsh weather this winter.
Since Ferris does not have an indoor track facility to use, the team is used to practicing outside and sometimes running in snow or on ice.
Ferris junior runner Gage Cleveland has had his share of working out during the winter time. Cleveland said one of the main challenges of having to workout outdoors for indoor meets is the difference in footing, or finding the best way to run in the snow compared to a warm and dry facility.
When running outdoors, Cleveland said you have to prepare yourself for ice or anything that can be on the ground, but when it’s moved to indoors, there’s nothing on the track.
“Another challenge is going from running outdoors in the elements every day to then competing inside. This brings a lot of challenges, the first being warm, which sounds crazy but running in 5 degree weather to 70 degrees can be a big shock to your body,” Cleveland said. “Also, this one’s relatable, if you ever have ran inside the gym in high school and get that burn in your throat that feels like you just swallowed glass. This challenge isn’t as major as the heat but when you’re competing and not used to the indoor dry air, it really can annoy you when you are running and feel like you have strep throat.”
Ferris freshman runner Paige Deitering is still new to the track program, with only the four meets under her belt, but she said she enjoys the indoor meets.
“With only being a freshman this year, I haven’t had much exposure to indoor collegiate meets. The competition is always high and you should always expect to run hard with every race you enter,” Deitering said. “With running at indoor meets throughout my middle school and high school career, I personally tend to enjoy indoor meets more than outdoor since you don’t have to deal with the elements such as strong winds, rain, etc. Outdoor is nice because some of the indoor complexes tend to have really dry air but overall either season has its pros and cons. Indoor is a great way to get you ready for the outdoor season.”
Cleveland also said since he is a cross country runner, it is more difcult for him to go from practicing outdoors to competing indoors.
“As a cross country runner it is definitely more difficult to go from running on a cross country course outside, on a golf course, to running around a circle 15 or more times,” Cleveland said. “It’s mental, and being able to run straight for longer than 60-100 meters without having to make another left turn is a blessing.”
Deitering also said if the weather is too bad, then the team will be running some laps in the Student Rec Center, but other than that they brave the cold Michigan winters.
“Most likely though, you will find us bundled up and out on the roads that are in the best condition while running in a big group,” Deitering said.
The track team has been placing well at their first few meets of the season. In the Saginaw Valley State University Jet’s Pizza Invite, Ferris senior Cody Stilwell won the overall weight throw and reached a NCAA Division II qualifying mark with a 19.56 throw in a Division I populated competition. The women’s distance medley relay, made up of Taylor Thrush, Hannah Todd, Jennifer Eaton and Katie Etelamaki won their race in a time of 12:21.05 and the men’s and women’s team totaled 20 top ten finishes on the weekend.
In the Grand Valley State University (GVSU) Big Meet Friday, Feb. 8, and Saturday, Feb. 9, Etelamaki placed third overall in the women’s 3000 meter run open among a pool once again full of Division I competition. Ferris took home another top ten finish with Ferris junior long jumper Stanley Williams placing sixth in the men’s long jump competition.
Ferris senior Sarah Utchel placed 23rd in the women’s 60 meter dash open and the women’s 4 by 400 meter relay open team placed 15th with the help of Eaton, Todd and Ferris sophomores Sheridan Brittney and Carissa Schurr.
The track team runs again Friday, Feb. 15, at GVSU for the GVSU Tune-Up.