In a series of breathtaking races, the Dallas track and field team made their mark at the Leap Day Relay at Millsaps College. The 4×400 meter relay, run by Kevin McGuirk, Nicholas Vega, Max Lagarde and Joe Rawiki ended in three minutes and 38 seconds, bringing each leg to an average of 54.5 seconds per lap. Since their last meet, the relay team managed to shave a staggering 16 seconds off their time.
“I’m really proud of how our team did yesterday,” said senior Mary Korth, “The majority of the team have never done track before, so it was really awesome to see everyone go out and just put in their best effort.” Korth takes her place as one of the team captains and helps the newer runners with the nervousness that often accompanies their first races
With over 10 years of experience in cross country and long/mid-distance track, Korth is beginning her final season at the University of Dallas, but notes a few setbacks in the program. Korth said “people who do events like long jump, triple jump, and pole vault can only practice these once a week.” UD’s campus lacks a track, which limits the team to practicing at Cistercian for a maximum of a few hours on Saturdays. A typical high school track team ideally practices on a track five or six times per week, yet UD athletes must integrate treadmill or grass runs into their workouts.
Possibly moving faster than the runners on the track, Coach Nick Schneigert is spread thin. Laden upon him is the responsibility of coaching nearly every event with little to no assistance. Problems may arise in the future due to a shortage of one-on-one time that normally comes with a full roster of coaches.
Coach Schneigert explained over email some of the training techniques he is currently implementing; each player is given a different microcycle, which is the shortest training cycle, typically lasting a week, which works toward achieving a specific training goal. However, he tries to sync these training cycles across different areas of competition.
“My middle distance athletes, long distance, and jumpers all have different microcycles,” Coach Schneigert explained via email. “I try to set my microcycles from a specific macrocycle I have for all the.. different groups.”
Schneigert expressed some qualms about the current training system:
“It will never be perfect, but I do what I can do with it. It’s not easy being the only coach while most schools have 3 or more.”
For now, however, Korth reminds us that “our goal at the moment isn’t about scoring points … everyone on the team needs more experience competing.”
Schneigert seems to agree, as two weeks ago he said, “Right now it’s more about culture building. I want them to be motivated.” The more exposed the Crusaders become to a competitive environment, the more they’ll be able to draw from their experience to win races. It is also necessary for the newcomers to adapt to the “runner” lifestyle, bringing the team closer together.
Experience aside, however, Dallas was able to work themselves into spots on the results that were previously unattainable. Mary Korth, Maria Pecha and Brenda Mendoza all finished the women’s 1500 in under 6:10. In the men’s 1500, freshman Thomas Lagarde finished with an astonishing time of 4:29.51, placing him within the top 10 in his heat. Solid performances run by the Crusaders in the 100m, 110 hurdle and the 1600 sprint boosted the morale of the runners towards the end. McGuirk placed first place in the 400m men’s hurdles with a time of 59.53. Minutes later, he led the 4×400 relay team to a 3:38 finish that is nothing short of impressive.
Come see the Crusaders cross the finish line on March 7, at the Hardin-Simmons Invitational. Siempre Adelante!