By Raisa Montilla | email@example.com
The Flagler College Athletics Department has introduced indoor track and field to its athletic curriculum for the 2014-2015 school year.
“This was a way that coach Beil proposed to me that we could enhance the competitiveness of our cross country athletes,” Damon said. “The primary reason for it is to strengthen our cross country programs.”
Damon also believes that the addition of the new sport will help the cross country programs recruit more student athletes that are interested in starting their studies and continue practicing their sport at Flagler, but were restrained because of the lack of the track and field program.
Brian Beil, head coach of the men’s and women’s cross country teams, says that adding this new sport will give the athletes more opportunities to achieve their goals.
“No matter how fast you became as one of my athletes you could never make it to nationals because we had no track and field program,” he said. “The indoor track and field gives our kids something to shoot for rather than just, go out and run fast times and not getting them anywhere. It just gives them a better experience.”
The biggest change coming with the new indoor track and field sport is the length of the season for the cross country student athletes. Before the addition of indoor track and field, the athletes would take an active break after the cross country season’s ending, but with the new sport, the athletes are active the whole academic year.
“When we finish cross country in the fall, hopefully in December after nationals, we will take a very short brake and then continue right back into where we left off and hopefully carry the fitness we that we had in the fall into the indoor season,” Beil said.
Flagler does not have an indoor track and field facility on campus and therefor the athletes practice on the Flagler College soccer fields. Beil explains that practicing on a grass surface does have its advantages.
“Running on a grass surface, which is a softer surface, is two things,” he said. “One, a little better for our legs. We don’t take as much damage there’s not as much pounding. The other, it’s slightly slower. If you’re going to run a time trial on grass or a time trial on an artificial track, you’ll be faster on the track.”
This year moving forward, coach Beil hopes that they will be able to start practicing on the tracks of a local high school rather than practicing on a grass surface.
Shelby Garbett, is a junior on the women’s cross country team. She believes that the indoor track and field is a great opportunity not only for the team, but also to make the Flagler College name more known.
“I think this will be a nice change of pace and perspective on the sport,” Garbett said. “I think that when a cross country runner starts up their track season, there is a lot of excitement. We all look forward to track season because the workouts get faster and the distances get shorter.”