April 20, 2010
Senior Jeff Gudaitis was all ready to make his final year his best yet as a Husky, but a foot injury sidelined the sprinter during the indoor season, and while he has returned to training, the decision was made to redshirt to give him the best shot at success as a senior. Still, the 2009 NCAA qualifier remains a key leader every day in practice, and he took some time to write about how workouts are going for this year's sprinters.
Outdoor track is three meets deep into the season and I have yet to compete. It's weird not running in any races yet this year. Redshirting has become the best option but I still miss the thrill of competition. Even though I won't be able to officially run for the University of Washington this year, I'm excited about the sprint group because of all the positive things going on in the program. It feels like there is a new attitude and enthusiasm from both the coaches and athletes.
Practice has become more team oriented and focused. I can see major changes in the way people warm up which is then evident in the way they compete. Drills have become crisper and more intense. People are going beyond what is asked to become better.
On the guys side the team is young but very talented. Freshmen James Alaka is leading the young group towards Pac-10's and Nationals in the 100 and 200. It's fun to train with them at practice and in the weight room. Even though I'm a senior and there are a lot of young guys, I can see how the guys are improving and getting better. In a couple years this will be a dangerous combo.
The girl sprinters are a more experienced and balanced group. Senior Falesha Ankton is the unquestionable all-around leader and motivator. She leads the team with both her good attitude and dedication both on and off the track. She is always taking candid photos and is famous for being friends with everyone. It's exciting to see the girls headed in the right direction for Pac-10s.
One thing keeping the team from being at peak speed is injuries. Track athletes know that injuries are a way of life but it seems like our group has been struggling this year with everything from stress fractures, muscle pulls, and even stitches. My own mid-winter foot injury kept me from training for almost a month.
Our trainer John Jackson has been a major help to the program and to the sprint group specifically. He makes sure you stress the fact that coming back too soon will only lead to more injuries.
Although I may not be running this year, I'm glad to be able to practice and be a part of the Husky team. Learning to support our teammates, even when we're not participating, is part of the UW spirit. Meanwhile, as spring descends on Husky Stadium and we student-athletes are focused on our last quarter of the year, it's inevitable to look forward to next year. Hopefully the 2010-2011 season will bring no injuries, and we will enjoy continued success for the whole University of Washington Track and Field program.