BW girls’ indoor track & field season opens with 32 athletes on February 2
By LENNY C. LEPOLA
News Assistant Managing Editor
Big Walnut High School head girls track coach Joe Evener likes to call the high school basement hallways “The Joe Evener Indoor Track Training Facility”. Evener might be using the term in jest, but with the weather not suitable for outdoor training, and the main and auxiliary gymnasiums occupied by boys and girls basketball squads, that’s where you find Evener and his girl’s indoor track and field squad practicing after school lets out — in the basement hallways.
“We have 32 girls participating on the indoor team this winter,” Evener said. “We practice every Monday and Wednesday from 4 to 7 p.m. The first half of each session is running, conditioning, stretching and working on fundamentals, the second half is in the weight room. Our jumps squad has practices in the auxiliary gym at different times.”
While the practice facilities and practice times are limited, Evener said Big Walnut’s girls take the Ohio Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches (OATCCC) indoor track and field season seriously, with girls coming out to compete in the 60-meter hurdles, 60-meter dash, 200-meter dash, 400-meter dash, 800-meter run, 1600-meter run and 3200-meter run; and the Golden Eagle girls’ field relay teams in the 4x200, 4x400 and 4x800 relays.
Big Walnut girls will also compete in the shot put, pole vault, high jump, long jump and triple jump.
Evener said the high school’s indoor track season is really laid back; that attending practice is not mandatory, but the girls take the indoor track season very seriously because it’s such an integral part of the whole cross country and track and field conditioning program.
“If a student athlete is playing another winter sport we don’t worry about them staying in condition,” Evener said. “But for fall cross country runners and track and field participants in the spring, indoor track is a great way to stay in condition over the winter months. But I don’t get too excited if only two or three girls show up for a practice. I tell them if they have homework to do, go do the homework.”
Loose training schedule aside, Evener’s indoor squads are competitive enough that they are one of the perennial teams to beat at the Central District level. Big Walnut’s girls have won Central District Indoor track titles in 1996, 2000, 2011 and 2012.
While members of the Golden Eagle squad began practice before Christmas break, they will not compete until February. Their season opens with meets on February 2, 9 and 16 at The Ohio State University’s French Field House.
On February 17 the girls travel to the Kenyon College High School Track Meet at Gambier, and on March 2 they’re closer to home at the Capital University High School Meet.
On Saturday, March 9, the Girls Indoor Track and Field Team will participate in the Central District Indoor Championships at Otterbein University’s Clements Recreation & Fitness Center.
Following each competition the girls wait for numbers from around the State of Ohio. The top 16 qualifiers in the state in each event at the end of the indoor season are invited to compete at the Saturday, March 16, OATCCC Indoor State Championships held at Akron University.
Over the years Big Walnut has produced 72 state qualifiers and 22 state placers; and in 2009 the Big Walnut squad placed sixth at state, was fifth in 2010 and placed fourth in 2012.
“The thing that I like about our indoor track and field season is it introduces new people to the spirit of track and field at Big Walnut, and also gives them the opportunity to meet the more experienced girls without a lot of pressure,” Evener said. “We’ve also discovered that the girls who participate in our indoor season are ahead of the curve when it’s time to get ready for the outdoor season; and from what I can tell so far this year, things are looking pretty good both for our indoor and outdoor seasons.”