Winter Track Preview: Distance Events

In all of our rankings and articles for the winter season, we will distinguish between outdoor or "All-Comers" performances and true indoor performances. This is because the size of the track has a definite effect on the performances: smaller indoor tracks with tighter curves sap more energy and speed from the runners, while full-size outdoor tracks with larger curves make it easier to maintain speed. Indoor conditions and equipment can also impact field event performances (sometimes positively, sometimes negatively). We will always use the term WINTER in article titles to refer to outdoor performances (which can also be found using the term "polar bear" in our rankings. We will always use the term INDOOR in article titles to refer only to true indoor track performances. Whenever we have both indoor and outdoor performances together, we will always use the heading WINTER SEASON.

Winter competition is getting ready to heat up this weekend! There are five all-comers meets on the calendar, plus the Texas A&M high school classic (which has drawn California talent in recent years). Next weekend we have the National Pole Vault Summit (always loaded with Golden State athletes), the UW Indoor Preview, and another big group of all-comers - including the first wave of Winter Championships qualifiers.

For the first time in MileSplitCA history, we're going to be doing some on-site coverage of all-comers competitions through January and February! That means we have to know what we're looking for, and so we've prepared a series of previews to highlight returning stars in all three event groups (that is, athletes that competed in the winter last year). We also have a few other athletes that did not compete in the winter, but that we would like to see out there this time around - stars that should be major factors this spring, in other words. We hope you enjoy it, and we hope you're as excited about the impending start of track season as we are!

Many programs around the state emphasize year-round training through cross country, winter track, and spring track, and some of these programs use all-comers competition to develop speed and cultivate depth. For that reason, we usually find more distance runners than sprinters or field event athletes when we search the returning rankings. However, the numbers that attend true indoor meets are quite small, which seems to indicate that California coaches and athletes prefer a training cycle that avoids high-pressure competition during this time of the year. I would really like to see more of the Golden State's distance runners emulate some of the Northeastern teams and experience the unique joys of indoor track meets!