St. Mary’s T&F Team Blog #4

: Hey Siri, play “Blinding Lights” by the Weeknd.

On pre-meet Monday, the St. Mary’s track team held an indoor training session due to the solar eclipse following a teamwide meeting. At the meeting, team leaders stepped up to help Coach Smith and Coach Brett organize practice, take attendance, and go over the game plan for the first meet of the season on Tuesday. The Spartans took on Lynn Vocational Technical High School, Archbishop Williams, and Bishop Fenwick but looked forward to meeting the challenge! 

After the meeting, some of the athletes had additional questions about meet entries, but the remainder of the team headed upstairs to complete a quick technical session. Following a warm-up lap around the school, the sprinters and throwers completed some brief form exercises. A quick stretch concluded the short Monday practice; see you on the track for meet number one!

TUESDAY: An exciting first meet of the season for the Spartans!

We hosted the “All Comers Jamboree” with athletes from Bishop Fenwick of Peabody, Archbishop Williams of Braintree, and fellow Lynn school Lynn Tech. 

During the outdoor season, the Catholic Central League only has three meets a year that “count” with dual meet scoring. At each meet, we face 3-4 fellow CCL teams. The “All Comers Jamboree” is an open meet we host with no team scoring, no FAT timing, no entry limits – just a chance for every athlete to have a chance to compete. As each team in this meet has a different schedule ahead, some teams entered everybody, some teams only brought their less advanced athletes, and some were a little in the middle. 

We had a great day overall. Highlights included Kelsey Kwiatek in the 400m hurdles (1:17.5), Jimmy Jennings in the 400m (56.1), Demetri Koutsouflakis in the javelin (117’), and a 55.5 in the 4x100m from the girls team. 

Without team scoring, it is sometimes hard to quantify a day’s success. So, we always bring the “PR Board”, a whiteboard where anyone who gets a personal record can write their performance down. It is a really great way to recognize those who have set a new personal best. It is also great to look back on at the end of a meet, which are sometimes so hectic we have no idea what’s going on at the other end of the field.

WEDNESDAY: A post-meet recovery day.

On post-meet Wednesday, the Spartans had the day off to rest and recover after a series of outstanding performances at the first meet of the season. “Rest and recuperation is key,” Coach Smith finds, so the trackletes prepared for the remainder of the week.

THURSDAY: A cloudy day called for each group to have a very different practice from one another.

Coach D and Coach Beth brought distance back out to the hill. The workouts are getting longer, as Coach D challenged the athletes to push themselves. He also, in Coach D fashion, suited up to chase them up the hill. 

The Sprinters found themselves with the track to themselves, doing some easy form, handoffs, and tempo work. The reps were 100 meters, starting from the middle of one straightaway and ending at the other. This allowed the sprinters to run the “wrong” way on the track, which is important sometimes due to the repetitive nature of always turning left. Coach Brett also put them through some block work.

The throwers had an intensive discus session with Coach Fox, during which we found a few new discus throwers! Afterward, they had a lift in the weight room with Coach Themo and Coach Smith. Freshman Cooper was given the AUX and delivered hit after hit on the team’s JBL speaker as Coach Themo oversaw a full body circuit workout he designed.

FRIDAY: Feed the Cats Friday!

Our Sprinters chipped up with the FreeLap technology, spiked up, and got fired up to run electronically timed 40-yard dashes. Some of these times were a little different (slower) than previous, hand-timed 40 yard dashes some of the athletes had gotten from their football coach…but regardless, the workout went well, with the focus being speed, speed, speed. All reps were recorded, ranked, and published, with the best reps coming when two athletes ran against each other. We even were joined by our fellow Lynn schools with whom we share the track, who wanted to chip up and get their times. 

On the other end of the track, the focus of the day for the hurdlers with Coach Smith was the trail leg. We began with basic walkover drills before graduating to more dynamic drills, including hop overs with one leg draped over the hurdle and the other on the ground, one-step trail leg drills on the side of the hurdle, and slow trail leg lifts along the fence. With this being the day’s sole focus and everything else taking a backseat, most athletes had a noted improvement to their trail leg for the acceleration workout: 4 x 4 hurdles at discounted height, with block starts.

The throwers worked on their respective events, focusing on shot and discus. Form was the key to the day, with many throwers only entering the circle once or twice and instead focusing heavily on drills with Coach Themo.

Coach Beth oversaw the distance squad, which hit a recovery run and did some hurdle walkover drills afterwards to promote mobility and recovery.

SATURDAY: A day of sun equals a day of fun!

Since Saturdays are reserved for a team-wide training session, all groups hit a difficult day of practice in the sun to prepare for the upcoming meet the following week. With different groups coming at different times, the coaches certainly had their hands full, but the Spartans made it work and completed a successful day of practice!

To kick off the day, the hurdlers and throwers worked on their events, with Coach Smith and Coach Brett leading the hurdlers and Coach Themo and Coach Calie working closely with the throwers. The hurdlers followed their warmup with lead and trail leg drills, preparing them for hurdle run-throughs. Because the coaches emphasize that “form is key when it comes to hurdles,” the athletes made sure to hit it home when it came time for their block start workout. Meanwhile, the throwers were hard at work to complete the triple threat of the shot, discus, and javelin. These two groups are looking forward to putting their best foot (or throw) forward at the meet on Tuesday.

During the second session, Coach Smith transitioned to help sprinters complete a very tough lactic workout. During this exercise, the male and female athletes had 23 and 27 seconds to run as far as they could. Coach Smith had a tape measure down at the 200 meter mark, explaining to the athletes that if they could go all 200 meters in their allotted time, they would likely make it to All States in the event. The tape measure helped each athlete mark where they ended on each rep, with Coach Smith demanding that the athletes get at least as far as their previous reps. With each rep getting harder, “running in groups proved to help them get faster each time,” Coach Smith described. Some standout performances from the sprinting department undoubtedly come from Rubell Cornelio and Will Ross Peña for the boys and Princess-Kailyn Njika and Isabella Michel for the girls.

At the same time, Coach D had the distance runners complete a brutal 12x400m workout, which was a tough lactic day for this group of trackletes. The athletes ran in small groups and got a quick rest between reps. Particular spotlights for this workout come from the distance duo Kyle and Kelsey Kwiatek, Matt Terrien, and Sophia O’Brien. 

Following sprints and distance, long and triple jumpers went over to the pits and got some quality reps. Several of the long jumpers, whom Coach Brett worked with, decided to try triple jump under the direction of Coach Smith. After getting acclimated to the unnatural motion of triple jump, they each got several run-throughs and practiced the technical hop-step-jump routine. When everyone was done, the typical 400m cool-down lap and a thorough stretch were in order, and the Spartans completed yet another great Saturday and week of training!

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