Hello sunny skies and warm weather. The Albion College track and field team is headed to Panama City, Fla. for spring break.
It will be the team’s 37th consecutive trip to Florida for spring break. The Britons will compete in two meets during the trip — the Savannah State Relays in Savannah Ga. on March 3rd, and the Birmingham Southern Invitational in Birmingham Ala. on March 10th.
“The first meet will be a challenge for our sprinters, jumpers and hurdlers. We are facing a lot of southern Division 1 schools,” head coach Lance Coleman said. “The second meet is a real good Division 3 meet. A lot of good, quality Division 3 schools come down south.”
The team hopes to improve on last week’s results. Both the men’s and women’s squads finished near the bottom of the Michigan/Indiana Indoor Championships on Feb. 25. The men were 6th out of 8 teams, while the women finished 7th out of 8.
Depth issues plagued the Britons, as many key performers were out with injuries. Coleman said that most of the injured athletes had practiced this week, and he expects them to return to action during the trip.
“We need to get more of our nicked up athletes back on the track and competing,” Coleman said. “Over half the roster didn’t compete [last week].”
That being said, 21 athletes posted career bests at the meet. Amanda Weaver, Marshall junior, broke her own school record in the 3,000 meter run with a time of 10:25.74.
Besides training and competing in meets, the Britons will have plenty of opportunities for team bonding while in Florida. In the past, the team has had team dinners, visited the zoo, and gone putt-putt golfing, not to mention spending time on the beach.
“We get a lot closer,” Kristin Nelson, Iron Mountain junior, said. “My freshman year I didn’t know anyone on the team, but by the end I got to know a ton of people.”
The accommodations aren’t too shabby, either. The team’s hotel rooms include double beds and a kitchenette, and are located right on the beach. Coleman said that practice usually ends at 1:00 p.m., so there is plenty of time for rest and relaxation.
The team utilizes Albion College vans to drive to Florida, which can take an upward of 16 hours. The cramped confines and bumpy roads offer little opportunity for sleep. The toughest part of the week might be traveling the long distance right before Saturday’s meet.
“We never had a meet on the way down there so it will be interesting to see how it goes with little sleep,” Nelson said. “We have practice on Friday before the meet. Hopefully that will take care of the dead-leg situation.”