It was a great start to the indoor season for SFU’s track and field team. After a winter that saw them unable to train on the track due to snow, the Clan was able to deliver some convincing performances at the UW Indoor Preview.
“I think it was a great start,” said head coach Brit Townsend talking to The Peak. “We haven’t been able to be on the track because of the weather [. . .] So all those things considered, I think we did amazing[ly].”
Because of the heavy snowfall in the Lower Mainland, affecting exams up on the Burnaby Mountain campus, the team had to find new, creative ways to train and prepare for the upcoming meet.
“We’ve been going on the treadmill, we’ve done the AQ over the holidays and measured out some distances out there,” said Townsend. “Hallways, really anything that we could find. We’ve tried out some hills in the parking lot and residence and stuff like that. It was just a really long period of time to be without pacing and race simulation.”
Townsend believes however that this will make the team more focused heading into the rest of the season.
“I think it’s important to be able to adapt to adversity. These athletes have done that. Over the holidays we were up in the AQ, we even used the wheelchair ramp when school was closed. So you just have to make do. I got some good information and some research on treadmill workouts.”
“So for the distance runners, that was important. So we did a little bit of pace work there, but the machines only go so fast, so we have to work on aerobics stuff when we’re on there. But we have to make do.”
Standout performances included Chantel Desch and Daniel Kelloway, who “was home for the holiday [and] was able to do some indoor workouts”. Both had personal bests in the 400-metre. A number of freshmen also did extremely well, with Nathan Mah and Katherine Lucas being pointed out as having great performances by Townsend. Both Kelloway and Desch, as well as Julia Howley, made Division II qualifying marks.
Now the focus turns to the UW Invitational. It will be another tough test early on in the season to see where SFU’s runners match up.
“Now we’re looking at more schools across North America, lots of Division I schools will be at this next one,” explained Townsend. “We’ll also do our first DMR relay for men and women on the Friday night. We qualified both teams for indoor nationals and that’s our goal this year. So we’ll see if we can start that quest.
“I don’t know if we’ll make it the very first meet because, like I said, because it’s early and we haven’t really had the work that we would like to have done. But hopefully we have the ability to get both of those teams qualified once again.”