Now that was winter track!
After a generally mild opening weekend - with temperatures in the low 40’s – Suffolk athletes got a frostier taste of what the next few weeks may hold on Saturday morning.
The only heat anyone could find was on the track.
With the thermometers dipping slightly below 30 degrees and the windchill making it feel even colder, runners were bundled in coats, scarves, and anything else they could get their hands on in between races.
"I had a pair of leggings on, long sleeves, a jacket, a sweatshirt, and gloves. I was ready," said Lauren Trejo, who won the 600 and 1,500 meters and anchored the winning 4X400 meter relay in host Sachem East’s 88-30 win over Bay Shore. "I was prepared for it."
While the cold conditions surely looked uncomfortable, Trejo found it preferable to the normal January confines of an indoor track. Yes, winds can be fierce and the cold can be unforgiving in the years first month, but the breathability can’t be beat.
"I really like the cold, just in general," she said.
Trejo’s preference isn’t that surprising, either. One of the major complaints of indoor track runners is how hard the races are on their lungs. Between the heat of the building and the sand of the jumping pits permeating the air, the atmosphere can seem quite dense – almost polluted. This makes running, especially longer distances, very difficult.
"After you race, it might be an easier run, but no matter what, it feels like you have bronchitis," said Trejo, who ran 5:35.1 in the 1,500 and 1:52.9 in the 600. "Your lungs and everything are dry. You just can’t catch your breath. Being outside and having more of the fresh air is nicer."
Trejo’s teammate, Ariann Robinson, agreed.
"I definitely would rather be outdoors," Robinson said. "I feel like I push myself more when I’m outdoors."
Robinson won three individual events – the 55 in 7.3 seconds, the 300 in 47.3, and the long jump, where she flew 16 feet, 2 ½ inches. She said the wind helped her tremendously in the 55 – almost pushing her down the straightaway.
"I felt really strong and powerful," she said.
Robinson, who began long jumping last season, said she’s getting more accustomed to the technical aspects of the event. She feels like she’s on the cusp of surpassing her personal best, a 16-10 from early last season.
"At first, it was really difficult for me to understand (the process of) getting my steps down or getting high in the air," Robinson said. "It was a challenging process. But, I found that each day, if you keep on practicing and giving it your all, you’re just going to get better."
Elsewhere, Arya Deshpande won the 55-hurdles in 9.4 seconds, Chelsey Weber took the 1,000 in 3:33.4, and Sabrinna Mena won the 3,000 in 12:15.8.