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Crazy Weather Impacts Players

Moss Brennan-

A normal week in Boone can see snow, rain, sleet, sun, wind and cold temperatures. For athletes, the constant changing can impact their sport.

Track and field is a sport that can have two seasons: indoor and outdoor. Once the outdoor season starts though, getting as much practice time outside is a big goal.

“It’s always been crazy but the past 5 to 7 years we’ve seen like a really big change in the weather,” Damion McLean, associate head coach, said. “Normally after spring break, we would be outside able to practice and prepare for outdoor season.”

McLean, from Lincolnton, North Carolina, ran track at App State from 1997 to 2001 and went into advertising before coming back to coach. This is his 15th year and along with being the associate head coach, he coaches short springs and horizontal jumps.

By being in the Boone area for almost 20 years, McLean has seen a lot of crazy weather changes in his lifetime.

“I’ve seen it happen one time in my life where it’s been really warm outside and then all of a sudden it gets cloudy. It starts to rain then it starts hailing and then it starts snowing. All within like two hours,” McLean said.

While the weather may get crazy, for some track athletes it is something that you just have to get used to as a player.

“You just got to get used to it,” Lauffenburger, junior and high jump, said. “It’s a lot colder here, a lot windier here. Back in Winston, it’s a lot warmer.

One of the reasons he came to App was the weather and he said that he loves the snow.

Lauffenburger said that he is not that worried about an injury because of how much they put into doing a good warm up.

The weather really determines what track athletes do to warm up really depends on how Maggie Berkowitz, athletic trainer for women’s soccer and track and field, treats her players.

Berkowitz said that when it is colder outside they do a longer warm up and when it is warmer she makes that all the athletes are hydrated.

The weather does not necessarily create more injuries according to Berkowitz.

“Maybe if you have to change playing surfaces would lead to some injuries but we play on Turf outdoors as well as indoors so we don't see a lot of injuries in that sense,” Berkowitz said. “We don't see injuries as much as sicknesses.

One impact of weather for the track and field team is the level of competition. Being in the Sun Belt Conference, many of the schools are in locations where they can practice almost year round outside.

“Compared to teams we are competing against in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas where it's warm for them all the time,” McLean said. “So they’re outside all the time and we’re really at a disadvantage in our conference for that.”

Once it gets warm, Mclean said it is only going to benefit them as far as practice and the moral of the team of being able to practice outside.

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