HELENA — Carroll College track and field hasn’t had an easy road this year. Poor weather limited the Fighting Saints’ outdoor practice time, but nonetheless, the team had 15 athletes qualify for the NAIA Outdoor Track and Field National Championships in Gulf Shores, Ala.
According to head coach Harry Clark, the weather dampened the team’s ability to put up qualifying marks throughout the season. “Usually we get more 400 [meter] runners, more people on the track,” Clark said. “So that’s what happened with the weather and not being able to train.”
However the team’s tone on weather has finally shifted, they’re excited about it.
“I’m just ready to get in the warm weather, and hit the beach after we’re done. I’m looking forward to it,” sophomore decathlete Josh Malone said.
And rightfully so. When comparing high temperatures between Helena and Gulf Shores on May 23, Gulf Shores will likely be 30 degrees warmer. The temperature swing and the sunshine certainly help brighten the mental aspect of the athletes competing.
“The sunshine always make us happier, especially with all the months that we get snow around here,” said freshman pole vaulter Kelsey Bassett.
However, the heat also helps in a physical capacity as well.
“I think it should be great for the team, I think the heat will loosen up our muscles,” said Bassett.
With all these factors coming together, Clark has high expectations for his athletes.
“We’re going down there to win, that’s what we’re going down there for. I don’t care where you’re ranked in the list. When we go down there, we’ll get a little bit of weather, it’ll be 87 degrees and humid, but it’s not 40 and raining, so especially our vaulting crew,” Clark said. “Those are big numbers for us, everyone that’s going should be on the podium.”
The NAIA Outdoor Track and Field National Championships will get underway on May 23.