Jan. 13, 2012
Throughout the season, GoHuskies.com will check in with the captains of the Husky track and field team for insight into what each unit is working on in practice and goals for upcoming meets. The Huskies have a total of eight captains this season: James Alaka and Jordan Carlson for the sprints group, Jeremy Taiwo and Taylor Nichols for the jumps, vaulters, and multis, Angus Taylor and Elisa Bryant lead the throwers, and Charlie Williams and Christine Babcock represent the distance runners. To start things off, Williams and Babcock look back on the fall for the cross country teams and how the distance runners are transitioning onto the track.
Men's Distance Captain
Charlie Williams, Senior from Gig Harbor, Washington
As we finish up our second week of training and prepare for our first track meet on Saturday, I'd like to report on what our Distance Dawgs have been up to since the end of cross country in November.
The culmination of our cross country season left a lot to be desired. The talent and potential for greatness this team has didn't come to fruition like we wanted it to this year. While this was a disappointment for us, it also provided us with an opportunity. After a much needed break, it gave us the motivation and determination we needed to right our wrongs and move forward. We started training again with our eyes fixed firmly on achieving the success we failed to realize in cross country. Everyone trained hard over the break and came back fit and ready to run...and we needed to be ready.
Coach Metcalf didn't hesitate in getting us ready for the next six months of track racing. What better way to get the strength and endurance necessary than by running up a bunch of hills? Our first day of practice we did a hill workout that consisted of repeatedly running up the hill located just adjacent to the Montlake Cut, a hill we call the Canal Hill. As we did the workout, it seemed that everyone was of a single mindset. Everyone was working together and encouraging the man running next to them, whether it was with a pat on the shoulder or a sly comment that pushed that competitive button all distance runners have that won't allow someone else to show you up as long as you are able to keep going. After all, who likes getting beat?
As the week progressed and we continued to run together, it became clear that our team was developing a new sort of chemistry: a vibe. It's hard to describe a team vibe in words...but I'll give it a shot. To me, it is a sort of positive energy that runs through the team, giving us something to draw motivation from if a workout seems impossible. It is something that says, "My teammates are struggling too. If they can make it through this workout, so can I." You can work harder than you imagined because everyone else is working harder too, and you don't want to let down your teammates. This not only allows a struggling teammate to get through a bad day, but makes us better runners and a better team in the process. If we continue to build this team vibe throughout the course of the track season and work hard, our distance team could become a force to be reckoned with.
Here are some guys to look for in the upcoming University of Washington Indoor Preview. The big news this weekend will be the 4x800-meter relay. Washington will furnish two teams, pitting a veteran team made up of myself, Derrick Daigre, Kyle Blume, Steven Robinson and Gareth Gilna. There has already been some friendly smack talk going back and forth between these groups, so look for these guys to come out firing on all cylinders. Also watch the mile run for freshmen Meron Simon and Kyle Rae and the 3000-meter run for sophomore Bryan Tibaduiza. That being said, keep looking forward to the upcoming UW Invitational and Husky Classic to see the rest of our personnel light up the track. That's it for the Distance Dawgs, and we'll be seeing you at the Dempsey Indoor!
Women's Distance Capain
Christine Babcock, Junior from Irvine, California
After the cross country season, we collectively gave our bodies and minds a much deserved break before beginning the build up for track. We returned to Seattle on January 2nd excited for the track seasons ahead and hoping to continue the momentum we had this fall. So far, 2012 has been a great year! We have had two really good weeks of training, getting in some good hilly runs, weight training, workouts and swamp loops (my personal favorite).
Our team chemistry from cross country has carried over, making our girls excited and eager to run, but not without sticking to the basics. One of these is our post-long run traditions of overwhelming Victor's Coffee shop in Redmond with twenty or so muddy, sweaty runners. Walter and Joan are so gracious every time we take over their shop, excitedly declaring, "it's the runners!" This Sunday when we arrived they were so excited to show us the poster they made of Katie Flood's newspaper article and picture after she won Pac-12s, with a hand-written disclaimer that she was powered by a team favorite, the Irish Nudge. It was so sweet of them to take the time to make that, with Husky-colored construction paper and all, and display it in their shop. You should definitely go check it out! If the quaint shop, friendly staff, or fact that it is a UW women's team favorite doesn't sway you to stop by, then the waffles, egg sandwiches, scones, desserts and plethora of specialty coffee drinks should!
While most of us are itching to begin racing track, the majority of us will not open up until the UW Invitational in two weeks. Look to that meet for some exciting DMRs, 800s, miles, 3ks, and maybe even some 5ks. Until then, this weekend at the UW Indoor Preview we will have two 4x800m teams battling it out. Our veteran team of Mackenzie Carter, Eleanor Fulton, Joelle Amaral, and Erin Johnson. It should be a fun team battle as well as an exciting race with the rest of the field. We hope to see you out there!
Thank you for all your support, and GO DAWGS!