Eau Claire (WQOW) -- Preparation is a must for Track & Field athletes.
Whether that's getting mentally ready to race, or even finding out where they'll be practicing on a day-to-day basis. Such is the case at Eau Claire North, where the Huskies try make the most of their indoor opportunities.
"It's kind of a struggle to find gym space right now, with all of the snow and everything, but we're making it work," says senior Mattea Peplinski, "So the throwers actually, yesterday, split the gym with the baseball team, and we had half of a basketball court, so yeah, it's pretty small."
"If it's snowing in the middle of the day, even a couple of times, coach has just gone out after our warm up to be like, 'Oh, are we inside or outside?" explains senior Arik Skifstad.
"We tell the kids a lot to be flexible, understand that they may get a message, an email, at 2:30 that practice is going to be at 3:10 here," head coach Adam Sturgis says, "We have some pretty amazing kids to be that flexible."
With outdoor practices and indoor equipment limited in the early stages of spring, the Huskies coaching staff has think outside of the box, and that does include venturing into the pool.
"That's where we make our bank in our running form," Sturgis explains, "Teaching them to get their toes up, driving their knees, all of that kind of stuff. That can be really hard on their body, whether they're doing it day in, day out on a gymnasium floor, or out on the asphalt where they're not on a rubber track. That's really hard on the body, so doing it in the pool really relieves a lot of that impact, a lot of the stress on the joints, and frankly, it just mixes it up a little bit for them."
After a dip in the water, the sprinters are already back to work on dry land - in the Dot Hallway, a small rubber surface towards the back of the high school.
"We get some hard workouts inside, too," Skifstad says, "We've done some resisted running which is pretty tough on the legs, but outside, it's a lot different because inside we do resisted running for maybe thirty, forty meters, and outside we're running five hundreds anything from two hundreds to five hundreds."
"We're very lucky to have this hallway," says Sturgis, "It's an extremely versatile space. Obviously it's not that big, but it about 40 yards long. For a track team, we're able to put on spikes, and actually get some realistic block starts. Not a whole lot of programs can do that."
The sprinters are just one of the team's three main groups, and all are spread out over the school's campus, so staying focused can be difficult.
But as Coach Sturgis says, this senior-laden husky team is doing their best to create a team-building atmosphere, "They police themselves. If a kid doesn't finish a rep all the way through, a lot of our upperclassmen are the ones policing that and holding each other accountable, and that's something I haven't seen in my time here. We remind the kids to keep a positive attitude. That's all you can do. Have a little bit of humor because at this point in time, it's just funny."
The Huskies finished atop both the boys and girls team standings at the Packy Paquette Invitational in Superior, and are currently scheduled to compete again on Thursday, April 12th in Menomonie.