Weather is track’s unknown factor

Grant Donald

While womenâÄôs head coach Matt Bingle was awaiting his flight out of central Texas last weekend, he spent time researching this upcoming weekendâÄôs weather in Arkansas. However, Bingle knows that he must do so with caution because sometimes nature throws him a curveball. âÄúThe winds [in Texas] were really, really bad,âÄù Bingle said. âÄúIt affected anything 400 meters or up for sure. We knew it was going to be breezy but not necessarily that bad.âÄù With both Gophers track teams competing in other parts of the country early in the outdoor season, contrasts in weather from Minneapolis pose some challenges in the teamsâÄô preparation. Athletes feel the difference in the wind âÄî particularly the throwers. âÄúWhenever I head into a meet where the wind is going to be a factor, itâÄôs hard not to be a little excited,âÄù redshirt senior thrower Devin Stanford said. âÄúThe risk of the wind causing a bad throw definitely outweighs the reward of a throw that benefits from the wind.âÄù There isnâÄôt really anything throwers can do in practice to prepare for the differing winds throughout the season. But womenâÄôs throwing coach Peter Miller said his throwers have experience to get through some dicey weather situations. âÄúThey know the adjustments that need to be made if the wind is blowing in a particular direction,âÄù Miller said. âÄúRight before their throw, IâÄôll check the wind and let them know what their facing. After that, itâÄôs mostly just muscle memory.âÄù To try and understand the weather and make it less of an unknown, both coaches will check in with the areaâÄôs local forecasts throughout the week. This weekend, the womenâÄôs team will compete at the University of Arkansas. The forecast calls for sunshine and 70 degrees, which means Bingle will have his team run for longer periods than usual without water. âÄúWe canâÄôt all of a sudden make Minneapolis into 70 degrees or add 25-mile-per-hour winds,âÄù Bingle said. âÄúWhat we can do is make them work harder so they are prepared when they get tired more quickly down in the heat. Obviously nothing too extreme, but it makes a difference.âÄù But at the end of the day, Bingle knows that all of his preparation could be for naught âÄî and heâÄôs OK with that. âÄúItâÄôs part of participating in sports âÄî you never know what is going to happen,âÄù Bingle said. âÄúYou just have to adjust and compete.âÄù