Over spring break, 24 members of the track and field team traveled to Chandler, Arizona to compete in the Chandler Rotary Invite. At the event, Highlands Ranch placed in the top ten, six times. While winning is definitely a rewarding aspect of the meet, there are many other benefits of their travels as well.
One major aspect of traveling to Arizona is the team bonding. While not all of the team members are able to make it to the meet in Arizona, the members that do attend create good connections while away. “It kind of builds team unity when you’re together like that,” said Lou Krauss, head coach.
For athletes, this is a time to get to know your team members more and interact with them in a different setting. “The best part of the trip is hanging out with teammates at In and Out Burger, and when it’s sunset and watching HR runners in the elite heats,” said Lilli Navarro, senior.
The track team has a large number of athletes that participate in a variety of events. Therefore, sometimes an individual’s potential may go unnoticed for a while. The Arizona trip allows the head coaches to notice someone’s potential/talent, that they may have never seen before. “Every year, somebody stands out at Arizona that may never have gotten the chance. So it’s helped our team as far as depth and strength,” said Krauss.
Another benefit is being in a different setting. The weather in Arizona is much more stable in March than here in Colorado. While the team may not have time to immerse themselves in the culture of Chandler, Arizona, they do get a chance to experience a different place. “You get to see, especially if you’ve never been out of Colorado, you get to see what it’s like in different places,” said Krauss. “We don’t really get a chance to enjoy the culture really, but we get to sample In and Out Burger and get a chance to see what the competition is like out of state.”
The Chandler invite includes 9 or 10 different schools from around the country, according to Krauss. This gives athletes the chance to compete at an even higher level than just varsity on a state level. “Traveling gives the team bonding time, and it also gives us the opportunity to compete at a higher level,” said Navarro.
Travelling can be exhausting, but the track and field team seems to benefit in multiple areas from their annual travels. Krauss said, “It’s kind of a drain, physically and mentally, but it does good things for the team.”
Caitlyn Tsukamoto, Editor-in-Chief