With their first meet coming on fast at the end of April, Skagway students are hitting the ground running with their training for the track season.

Co-coach Kaitlyn Surdyk has been working with a portion of the students participating in track for 2017. Many of the other student athletes, along with co-coach Kent Fielding, have recently been ensconced in the Marshall Islands as part of the school’s Climate Change Project.

“It will be interesting to see what comes back,” Surdyk said. “So we haven’t had the whole team together yet.”

The team’s first track meet is in Sitka on April 28-29. Sitka will be a learning meet for the team, Surdyk said, and will give the coaches a good metric on the team’s abilities and the students’ chances at going to state. Almost immediately after Sitka, the team will go to another meet in Juneau on May 5-6. Regionals are May 19-20 in Juneau, with the state competition on May 26-27 in Palmer.

Skagway is competing in several new events this year. Denver Evans and Kara Whitehead will compete in discus and shot put, however Surdyk said she hasn’t gotten to touch base with those students yet.

“Skagway’s pretty much been known for running, that’s been our primary event for a long time,” Surdyk said.

For the throwers, Surdyk said the team is bringing in a man from Haines to do a clinic on proper technique and training. Since discus and shot put require a different set of muscles than running, the clinic will show the coaches and students how to best train for the events.

The other track members Surdyk has been working with are also focusing on training specific to their own competitions.

Ethan Goebel and Wyatt Belisle are working on getting distance practice with their training, with additional speed training – like hill sprints or regular sprinting – twice per week. The hurdlers – Colton Belisle, Madison Cox, Eliza Myers and Jenny Hansen do the sprint days as well, and have been working on hurdle training with hurdle coach Kate Bauer, who competed in hurdles in high school.

“It’s great to actually have someone with the team that knows how to do it,” Surdyk said of Bauer.

Skagway’s hurdlers will be running the 300-meter hurdle, a race that Bauer said is well suited to the students’ abilities.

“A lot of them run cross country, so they are used to longer lengths,” Bauer said.

Two of the hurdlers are freshmen, and another is a sophomore. Bauer said the ability to spend multiple seasons working with them is exciting, but added that most are already good runners.

Bauer has been working with the hurdlers in preparation for the meet in Sitka, drilling them on proper form and building their confidence, which has increased significantly since the first practice.

“I think they are excited for the first meet,” Bauer said.