We opened our indoor season on Saturday with a triangular meet against Minooka and Plainfield South at Plainfield South. The goal of this meet was two-fold. We wanted to put down some early season marks and we wanted to compete. From top to bottom, our athletes showed that they are ready for the competitive part of the season to begin.
In the short sprints, we showed great depth with 11 athletes running 7.0 seconds or better. Jonah Covarrubias (Sr.) grabbed the top Neuqua Valley place with a mark of 6.7 seconds, tying for 3rd place overall. In the 55 m High Hurdles, Donovan Turner (Sr.) took 1st place in 7.6 seconds, only 0.8 seconds slower than his 55 m time. Donovan would later claim another 1st place in the 200 m, with a time of 23.7 seconds. In the longer sprints, Kel Foley (Sr.) and Jonah Covarrubias (Sr.) took 1st and 2nd place respectively in the 400 m with marks of 54.8 and 55.2 seconds.
Our distance squad had the Gauntlet 1600 m to show their strength and fans lined the track to support the athletes as AC/DC's "Thunderstruck" roared over the loudspeaker. A Neuqua Valley senior quartet took places 3rd through 6th. Michael Madiol (Sr.) took the lead for our team in a time of 4:32.1, followed by Spencer Teske (Sr.) in 4:36.9, Matt Jett (Sr.) in 4:37.7 and Michael O'Connor (Sr.) in 4:38.9.
Not to be outdone, our field event athletes put up some impressive early season marks. Matt Appel (Jr.) threw 52' 0" in the Shot Put to take 1st place. In the Pole Vault, Alex Kiefer (Sr.) also took the top position with a jump of 13' 0". Finally, in the Long Jump, EJ Oketona (So.) took 2nd place with a jump of 19' 1".
While our team performed very well, this was just the starting point. Therefore, here is what I would ask of our athletes (and parents too). First, look up the meet results at the link below.
Once there, find your name in the results by clicking on the events. By clicking on your name, you not only see all of your marks at this meet, but all of the marks in your entire career. (You can also achieve the same results by putting your name into the search bar.) Put simply, athletes should know their marks and personal bests. Marks that athletes achieve in meets are a way of measuring improvement and the website Athletic.net is a way for athletes to keep track of their progress.
However, I would like to offer athletes some advice as they begin this season. Do not get focused on marks. Focus on process and competing. When an athlete discovers their mark at a meet or later in the results, I would recommend that they relax, and without emotion, reflect on the competition by asking themselves two questions.
1. What did I do well during this event?
2. What do I need to improve on for next time?
During the next week, athletes should then focus on what they need in order to improve. Maybe they need to concentrate more on form, maybe they need to follow their race plan, maybe they need to abandon the plan and simply compete, maybe they need to get more sleep or watch their nutrition. Whatever the improvement needs, athletes should then take this self-given advice and use it during the next week and beyond to help themselves improve. In other words, they should focus on process.
All too often, athletes will respond to events or marks as if the event was something that happened to them, rather than something they had active control over. They need to shift their mindset to one of process during practice and then do the same process in meets. Pick one or two things to concentrate on during practice in the next week to work on your biggest issues. By focusing on their biggest deficiencies, they can make the greatest changes. As the saying goes "A person either hates losing enough to change or hates changing enough to lose."
Our next meet is next Saturday at Homewood-Flossmoor High School and we hope to see you there!