Sunday, May 19, 2024

Track and field team hurt by under funding

*DISCLAIMER: This is a sports column that only represents the opinion of the writer.*

Class starts in 20 minutes, and I have nowhere to change out of my practice clothes. I could use a bathroom stall, but that’s a dangerous balancing act when you’re 5 feet 10 inches tall. Sorry, classmates. I’m showing up stinky.

The Plattsburgh State track and field team repeatedly gets the short end of the stick. The indoor track gives you shin splints? Walk it off or befriend the athletic trainers. Sick of the bus rides? Too bad. We can’t host a track meet. The outdoor track was first built in the mid-1970s, just before the U.S. Olympic team trained here in 1976 for the Montreal Summer Games.

The outdoor track has seen better days. Assistant track and field coach Andrew Krug said despite being resurfaced in the early 2000s, the start of the 100-meter dash is treacherous. Holes expose the asphalt below, which makes starting with spikes tricky and blocks impossible. For any acceleration runs from a two-point stance, we line ourselves up on the lane lines where the track isn’t yet deteriorated.

While it’s true the outdoor track can’t host a real meet unless totally redone, at least it doesn’t injure a majority of the team. The indoor track, which is used for training more than half the year, is malicious and unforgiving. Freshmen end up in the athletic training room with shin splints, often lasting weeks until the athlete learns how to take care and prevent it, but that’s child’s play compared to what it’s done to my body.

I have fought a groin injury for four years now and the athletic trainers are familiar with me and my injury-prone self. The tight turns of the indoor track wreak havoc on my body, creating injuries where I had none and agitating the old. This past season saw my usual groin injury reappear, and with it sore knees, a weak IT band and weak quads. My attempts to stay healthy are constantly thwarted until outdoor, when our team is granted access to the local high school’s newer track.

The Web page for the Fieldhouse complex lists sports that have team rooms there, including track and field. In reality, our only team rooms are for men’s and women’s cross country in Memorial Hall. Even if the track team utilized these, it is still just over a mile from where we actually practice at the Fieldhouse track.

The Fieldhouse complex provides locker rooms for men’s hockey, soccer and lacrosse and women’s hockey, soccer and softball. In the spring, baseball uses locker room five, an extra room normally used for visiting teams. About four locker rooms, two of which can become one, remain open. Ignoring these, I think track and field should be allowed to borrow the women’s soccer room when the team is not in season. The men’s soccer and lacrosse teams actually share a locker room. If this is OK, I think the track and field team should be able to reach a similar arrangement.

I understand the school may not have the funds for a new outdoor track facility right now, but arranging for the teams to have a locker room shouldn’t be difficult. Maybe the school would rather pay for my knee surgery I’m sure to have later in life due to injuries sustained during my tenure at PSUC.

Email Jess Huber at

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