For the first time in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) and Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) history the SAIT Trojans running teams are revving and ready to begin their first official indoor track season.
Jamie Grant, a head coach for the Trojans running program, says that this is a great achievement in the promotion of this sport among Canadian colleges.
“I’ve been trying to get this done for three years,” Grant explained in a recent interview.
“Since I started coaching five years ago, indoor track has been kind of an amateur club of the SAIT Trojans training program for running, but now it’s as important as the cross-country club.
“It would be nice after a few years, if it shows success, to expand into more sprints as well as make it a more traditional track and field sport.”
Alberta is the first province in Canada where indoor track has become an official sport.
Currently, the Ontario and Quebec leagues are looking into making indoor track an official sport in their provinces, which could ultimately lead to future national championships.
“Track is a little different than cross-country, because it’s set up in different way,” said Grant.
“An athlete can enter as many races as he wants, but the top two athletes in each team can score points for the team.”
In indoor track competitions, points are awarded depending on the runners’ finishes.
A total of 10 points goes to the runner in first place, eight points for the second place, six for third, and so on.
“There are fewer conditions affecting your running because indoor track is a lot shorter, so you need to run faster obviously,” said Sean Hickey, second-year student in SAIT’s Business Administration program.
“I did track last year and this is going to be my second track season. As a runner it’s nice to measure your improvement through the season.”
Hickey is planning to participate in the two main 1500m and 3000m events.
“I hope to get even better times then the ones I got last year,” said Hickey.
“I think I’m in a lot better shape and hopefully my past cross-country experience will help me out this season.”
Ryan Edgar is the main coach on 400m and 800m events and like coach Grant he is excited for the upcoming season.
“In the pre-season races we’re trying to identify everybody’s strengths,” said Edgar.
“Some people think that cross-country would be much more painful because it’s a longer distance so it would be harder on the body but for others they see it differently.
“They think that a shorter distance hurts more because you’re trying to move at a quicker pace,” he said.
“Ultimately, we’re trying to adjust our runners to the track and by the end of the season we should expect medals from the athletes.”
The first ACAC race was to be hosted by the SAIT Trojans team in the Trojans Invitational Grand Prix on Saturday Feb. 1st.
The ACAC championships will be held in Edmonton at the CFB Garrison Track from March 7th to the 8th.
For information on past and upcoming races check out ACAC’s indoor track webpage here.