Have you ever been to a track meet? It’s probably a safe bet that the majority of our readers have not. Unless you were a participant, the friend or relative of a track athlete, your exposure is likely similar to mine. Every four years during the Olympics, I am a track and field fan.
After attending hundreds of sporting contests, Saturday, January 17, 2019, was my first track and field event. Last year The Lasco Press featured University of Michigan Cross Country athlete Jake Lee from Fenton. Jake mentioned that Michigan is hosting the Big Ten Indoor Track and Field Championships in Ann Arbor. The date February 22-23, 2019.
Unfortunately, another commitment would prevent me from attending. Instead, I opted to make the trip to Ann Arbor for Jake’s season debut. Running in the Simmons-Harvey Big Ten Invitational, Jake would run in the Men’s Mile. Competing against athletes from Michigan State, Penn State, Nebraska, Ohio State, and Maryland
U-M Indoor Track Building
You could not pick a better venue to watch an athletic event than the University of Michigan’s Indoor Track Building. The arena is brightly lit with a high vaulted ceiling.
The track is perfect and fast. For sprints and hurdles, the flat front stretch passes within close proximity to the spectators. There is not a bad seat in the house. The close confines to the competitors allow the crowd to urge the athletes on.
For full track events, the corners elevate via a hydraulic lift system under the floor. One of only seven such systems in the country.
Field events are held on the infield portion of the track.
For regular season events, admission to track and field meets are free.
For Big Ten indoor field meets, both men and women compete in the following events.
- High Jump
- Pole Vault
- Shot Put
- Long Jump
- Triple Jump
- Weight Throw
Indoor track events for men and women include.
- 60 M Hurdles
- 60 M Dash
- Mile run
- 400 M Dash
- 600 M Dash
- 800 M Run
- 3,000 M Run
- 4X400 M Relay
Fenton’s Jake Lee’s posted a time of 4:15.36, to finish 8th among 22 competitors. At just over 2 seconds off his personal best, Jake was pleased to get the first competition of the season done with. “I didn’t run my best race, went out a little slow and got trapped in the second pack. But, it was a good effort for my first race of the year.”
We asked Jake about the difference in running cross-country (his specialty) vs indoor track. “When you run cross-country you try and establish a pace and stick to it. It’s about endurance. A mile indoors is 8 laps around the track. But, in comparison, it feels like a sprint. It’s just a different strategy to the run.”
Running for Michigan as a sophomore, Dominic Dimambro is also a Fenton High School graduate. Like Jake, he is a cross-country runner and competes in distance events indoors. Last week in the Wolverine Invitational at U of M he ran 4:15.92 to place second in the Men’s Mile. Today he is running the 3,000 meters.
After starting solidly in the middle of the pack of 19 runners, Dominic faded in the last half of the race and finished 13th. The 3,000 meters consists of 16 laps around the track. Dominic said at the mile mark, or 8 laps in, he did not feel as good as last week. Disappointed with his finish we asked what it would take for him to turn things around. “I need to focus on training and do a better job of preparing. Both mentally and physically.”
It’s still early in the season. We will watch and see how things progress for the 2 Fenton HS grads as they move forward. Never been to a track meet? Head down to Ann Arbor and cheer these young men on. Next home event, February 1 and 2, 2019 for the Power 5 Invitational.