The Big Walnut High School Girl’s Indoor Track and Field Team, coached by girls outdoor track coach Joe Evener, is a relatively close-knit group of young ladies who run indoor track events through winter months for love of the sport, the challenge of competition, and the camaraderie of training.
The girls certainly don’t compete for the glory other athletes gain from competing in front of a hometown crowd. Other than practice sessions at the high school, competitions are always held away from home.
Evener calls the high school basement hallways The Joe Evener Indoor Track & Field Training Facility. He 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 teams, the high schools lower level hallways and stairways is where you find Evener and his Girl’s Indoor Track Squad practicing after school lets out.
“We have 22 girls signed up for indoors this year,” Evener said. “The indoor season is extremely important to the success we have had in the outdoor track and field program. It gives girls not doing a winter sport a chance to get in shape, newcomers get introduced to the system we have in place and meet some of the returners, and the girls get to learn many of the fundamentals necessary for proper nutrition and developing the skills to be successful.”
Evener said with Indoor Track it’s hard to get the girls motivated because practice is not mandatory; that it’s hard to get everyone to attend practice all the time.
“But that’s the way we like it, laid back, there’s no pressure,” Evener said. “Some days we have 12 girls show up, some days, like today, we have four girls.”
Evener said even though attending practice sessions are not mandatory, and practices are light in terms of intensity, that shouldn’t be confused with being easy.
“I believe that we can get a lot of hard work accomplished while still having fun,” Evener said.
“Even though it’s relaxed, it’s a time for especially the newer girls to learn what track is all about. It’s also a time for our older girls to hone their skills as they get ready for the outdoor season.”
Evener said the Indoor Track & Field season is also an opportunity for veteran track team members to mentor and establish relationships with the incoming freshman before the outdoor season begins.
“We have nine freshmen participating in indoor this year,” Evener said. “This gives me a chance to do some outdoor track pre-season evaluations, and for freshman it’s a chance for them to actually become veterans before their first high school outdoor season begins.”
The Girl’s Indoor Track & Field Team competed at Indoor Central District over the past weekend, and the Indoor Track & Field State Championship is at Akron University on Saturday, March 6.
The Big Walnut High School Indoor Track & Field Program has won Central District titles in 1996, 2000, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014; and Indoor District Runners-up titles in 1997, 1999, 2008, and 2009.
“We’re going into indoor central district is as a last chance meet for our girls to get a shot at state,” Evener said. “If we can score consecutively we have big goals for our outdoor season this spring. During the outdoor season we’re shooting for the Ohio Capital Conference title. This team is capable of winning three team titles this year, and one of those is the OCC.”
All Big Walnut Indoor Track & Field coaches volunteer their time during the indoor season, as indoor track and field is not recognized as a sport by the Ohio High School Athletic Association, but is sanctioned by the Ohio Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches.
Reporter Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093.