By LARRY GAGE
Special to the PRESS
The Port Isabel High Lady Tarpons track and field team has been working out at Tarpon Stadium for the past several weeks and should be ready to do some serious running, jumping, and throwing when it’s time for the season’s first track meet next month.
The Press found head girls’ track coach Julie Breedlove at the athletic offices this week and was able to get her thoughts about the upcoming season.
I’m really excited for the new season,” Coach Breedlove said Monday. “We’ve got about 20 kids showing up right now. The kids have been working hard and I’m looking forward to the new season.”
Breedlove returns almost everybody from last season’s relay teams. “Our 4×400-meter relay is all coming back, except for Gabby (Torres). We’ve got everybody coming back in the sprint (4×100-meters) relay, and we’ve got three runners coming back in the 4×200. We lost Amaya (Lampkin) because she moved.”
In field events Breedlove has to replace three-time state shot put champion Daniella Murchison, now a freshman at SMU, and four-time district champion and 2014 state qualifier in the high jump, Gabby Torres.
“A lot of underclassmen are coming up for shot put and discus,” Breedlove said Monday. “We’re not necessarily rebuilding – we’re just having to reload those two events. Maddie (Bickerton) will be back (high jump) and we’ve got a couple of other underclassmen coming in. They jumped in junior high.”
Breedlove discussed pre-season training methods and regimens and how they change week-to-week with the approach of the first meet of the season.
“When we started practice about three weeks ago we did a lot of conditioning to try to get their legs under them. We covered a lot of distance, but not (with) a lot of intensity. Now we’re starting to cover shorter distances with more intensity.”
One really fast returning underclassman is sophomore sprinter Jaya Cook. She’ll be competing again in the 100-meter dash, the 4×100-meter sprint relay, the triple jump, and possibly the 4×200 relay. She talked about the kind of training she expects to be doing this week.
“Practice has been really, really good. For the 100-meter dash I believe we’re going to start with sprinting. I actually need help with my (starting) blocks, so we’re going to do a little bit of that.”
Cook will also be doing some build-up runs. “A build-up run is when you start from a light jog, then you go into a run, then it moves into a sprint.”
The mostly fair and mild weather of late has made everything easier. “This is perfect actually,” Cook said Tuesday. “It gets us sweating and burns calories, and gets us really working.”
When the weather is cold and rainy the runners have to go indoors and practice in the gym.
“We don’t want to do a lot of work inside,” Breedlove said. “Outside we’re able to use the grass a lot to … hold the aches and pains and shin splints. The floor is so hard (and) it’s a lot of pounding we would rather not have.”
The first track and field meet of the season will be the PSJA Winter Relays and is scheduled for the weekend of Feb. 12 – 13.
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