Give our indoor track team the recognition we deserve

Sarah Sandlow, Haley Sandlow, News Editor, Staff Writer

At the conference meet, Sarah Sandlow (second from left) races in the 3200 meter run. Sarah has been a member of the track team all throughout high school. She and her younger sister, also a member of the track team, believe that athletes should receive credit toward the 12-Season Athlete award for completing the indoor track season. Photo by Haley Sandlow.

After weeks of demanding practices beginning in January, our 2019 indoor track season came to a triumphant end when the JV team won the conference meet and the varsity team earned second place. The emotion that followed was unmatched: freshmen were ecstatic, seniors cried tears of joy.

Weeks later, a similar degree of emotion was displayed. But instead of elation, anger bubbled beneath our skin. An article in the April issue of the Torch described a change to the 12-Season Athlete Award in which winter track will no longer count for any season credit. The change applies to the class of 2022 and all subsequent classes.

Our coach likes to say May is “money month,” the month where our hard work from the preseason, indoor and outdoor seasons is “cashed in” to be used at the conference meet, sectionals and hopefully state. Every painful interval, road run and rep in the weight room contributes to our success in those final meets. When athletes must participate in a different winter sport to receive the 12-Season Athlete Award, their workouts during preseason and the indoor track season are reduced, and their “savings” for outdoor track dwindle. Although we should participate in sports because we enjoy them, not just to win an award, it’s gratifying to have a goal to work toward that recognizes our hard work over all four years.

We acknowledge that the indoor season is short. We start two weeks into the semester, have a handful of meets and run at conference before we know it. It’s essentially a seven-week season. However, the 12-Season Athlete Award recognizes an athlete’s completion of a certain number of seasons, not a number of weeks. The GBN Athletic Handbook states, “Student Athletes who successfully complete three IHSA recognized interscholastic sports, one per season, Fall, Winter, Spring, are eligible to receive our three sport award.” Our indoor season is chock-full of training, where coaches give advice to newcomers, and returning athletes help to build up the team. Although indoor track is shorter and isn’t recognized as a separate IHSA sport, athletes still deserve to be recognized for completing that season.

The outdoor track season is short, too. This year it began before spring break and continued for seven weeks after. Including the state series, it’s an eight-week season, barely longer than the indoor track season. If an athlete can receive credit towards the 12-Season Athlete award by just participating in the outdoor season, they should be able to receive credit for the indoor season as well.

According to the IHSA, the official 2019 track season started on Jan. 14, two weeks prior to the start of Glenbrook North’s indoor season, and officially finishes on May 25, adding up to 20 weeks. Athletes can’t control the misalignment of GBN’s athletic calendar with that of the IHSA. Therefore, we propose the indoor track season align with the dates specified by the IHSA.

With what should be an extra two weeks of the season and our continuous hard work and perseverance, we deserve recognition through the 12-Season Athlete award for our time indoors.