Olympic Jamaican sprinter, Usain Bolt, shocked the world when he ran the 100 meter in indoor track. The gold medal winner crossed the finish line in only 9.98 seconds. He put indoor track on the map in the sports world. Indoor track is used here at Princeton High School (PHS) to keep athletes in shape during their off-season. This year was a successful one for Viking athletes participating in this sport.
James Stallings, special education teacher, is the head varsity coach for both indoor and outdoor track teams at PHS. He coaches every event. He cranked-up the difficulty of this year’s workouts.
“This season [was] different from last season because PHS’s indoor track team [didn’t] have a lot of leading seniors this year,” said Stallings.
Not everyone is familiar with indoor track. There are some differences and also similarities between indoor and outdoor track. The indoor season is shorter than its outdoor cousin and so is the actual track that the athletes use, although many of the events are the same. There are 12 different events that athletes participate in while competing in indoor track. Events include: 3000 meters, 1500 meters, 1000 meters, 600 meters, 300 meters, 55 meters, and many more. Athletes can compete in more than one event.
“Indoor track is a launch pad for outdoor track,” said Stallings. “It’s a good sport to prepare for outdoor track and it’s an opportunity for people to get into shape. They capitalize on teaching good technique and healthy habits.”
Brandon Mullins, senior at PHS, ran indoor track this season. He has been running indoor and outdoor track since freshman year and has a noticeable record. He is also a cross-country runner and runs the 800 meters for indoor track. Mullins attended the Indoor Track State Championship (2015) and placed 6th.
“I run the 800 meter and it makes me feel invincible,” said Mullins. You can get tired so easily because it’s so intense, and I really enjoy that.”
Coach Stallings says that to be able to compete in several events, the athlete has to be in good shape.
“I eat no junk food, high-calorie foods, or fried foods,” said Mullins. “Those calories burn off while I practice and compete in meets. I also lift so that I can be as in shape as possible.”
PHS athletes go on strict diets during indoor track season in order to stay in peak condition for when the sport becomes an outdoor endeavor.
“It’s a hard sport, but very rewarding,” said Stallings. “It’s a fun program. I really enjoy what I do. We have talent here and I’m excited to see how far we can go this year.”
Kevin Rainey, senior at PHS, attended the Indoor State Championship along with Mullins. Rainey competed in the 60 meter hurdles and took the top spot with a time of 7.92 seconds. Dyestat Elite 100 rankings puts him as the seventh-fastest runner in this event in the country. Congratulations to both Mullins and Rainey along with Coach Stallings and his staff!