Friday, May 3, 2013

Track Talk

Miss TigerBlog is running and jumping on the middle school track and field team this spring.

It's her introduction to the sport, and she seems to like it. TigerBlog does too.

The meets are vastly different than the games for the other sports that MTB has played. They feature events for girls and boys, and both spend most of their time milling around together, waiting for their turn to compete.

It's a much different dynamic than, say, a middle school dance, where the boys would be on one side and the girls on the other. No, here they mix together in small groups, a few girls with a few boys, cheering the rest of them on.

Somewhere in there is a graduate psychology thesis on adolescent social interactions and the power of sport.

There was a meet yesterday, and TB couldn't help but notice the easy socialization.

And the fact that also unlike the other sports MTB has played, in this one there is the unmistakable sight of kids on cell phones, texting and talking to someone, quite possibly other kids on their team at the meet.

The kids all have been exposed to a variety of events, and TB is fascinated that even though they're all beginners and they're all new to this, they are already gravitating to certain events.

MTB's friend Wiki is a sprinter. Her other friend Olivia is already a distance runner - which in this case means the 1,600, which is the longest event. 

MTB's best event so far is the long jump, and she's also run the 100 hurdles and the 400.

Yesterday she had to go right from the 400 to the long jump, with no rest in between.

As she got closer to the start of track and field season, she asked her dad if she could come run on the track at Princeton, and so TB brought her a few times to do so.

It's the same track that this weekend hosts the Heptagonal track and field championships, which come to Weaver Track and Field Stadium tomorrow and Sunday.

TB supposes there are some similarities with Heps and the middle school meets.

For one, the men's and women's teams are competing at the same place and time, and they pull for each other the way the kids do. For another, there is considerable down time between events for each competitor.

The Princeton women were the outdoor runner up last year and have won nine outdoor Heps titles all-time, including in 2009 and 2011. Harvard won the indoor championship this past winter.

Among the women's subplots are Tory Worthen's quest to become the first Princeton women to win the same event at Heps eight times when she competes in the pole vault. Worthen, who has won indoor and outdoors in her first seven tries, is trying to become the seventh athlete overall to win the same event eight times.

On the men's side, Princeton lost to Cornell by one point at the indoor Hep, and those two figure to go at it again this weekend. In fact, in the last 11 years, only Princeton or Cornell has won the title outdoors.

Princeton, as a matter of fact, has won the last two and three of the last four.

Heps begins tomorrow at 10 am and Sunday at 11 am. The last events are the women's and men's 4x400 relays, which go off at 4:50 and 5 Sunday, followed by the awards ceremony.

TigerBlog hopes to be unable to make it Sunday, as his desire is to be watching Princeton in the Ivy men's lacrosse championship game in Ithaca.

But hey, no lacrosse talk today. TB will only mention that sport tangentially. And if he's not in Ithaca, then he'll be at Weaver, probably with MTB.

It should be a great event the next two days.

Heps always is.

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