Mindset and Weather: How Track and Field Athletes Face These Two Hurdles

Dashing Through Mud and Mentality


Photo/Jacob Will

State High senior Trent Dinant races towards the finish line at a track meet against Harrisburg, placing first in the 3200.

Waverly Huang, Staff Writer

This year’s topsy-turvy weather has taken dozens of twists and turns. Spring sports have been affected by all of the rain, snow, lightning, and more that the unpredictable Pennsylvanian weather has thrown at them. However, when it comes to State High Track and Field, the weather is barely something to worry about due to the nature of the sport.

“We’ve definitely had some interesting run-ins with the weather, especially these past couple of weeks. April is coming around with a lot of storms,” said senior Trent Dinant, a long-distance runner for State High’s track team. “But I’d say it doesn’t affect us too much. The boys’ team, we do this thing called ‘Champion’s Day.’ Whenever it’s raining or really windy and we’re still outside practicing, we call it ‘Champion’s Day’ because while we’re out there working, a lot of other schools are just running on treadmills inside. They’re skipping practice, delaying it, or even canceling it. So we say, us practicing in these conditions is what makes our team the way it is, and that’s just how we are.” 

Junior Annika Williams, a thrower on the team, said something similar about how the weather does not hinder their practices. 

“Yeah, the weather’s been really weird lately. I heard the runners like to run in the rain, but I’m a thrower so I can’t really attest to that,” Williams said. “For the throwers, we personally hate rainy practices. Even if it’s cold with no rain, we don’t feel warmed up and we place our poor performances on the weather because it plays a large part. The weather has not been in our favor. So personally, on rainy days, it sucks to throw, but you still have to get that practice in. That’s why we’re still out there even when we complain about it.”

Junior Marlee Kwasnica, a mid to long-distance runner on the team, echoed what both Dinant and Williams said about practicing outside regardless of the weather.

“We’ve had some interesting weather, that’s for sure, but we still run outside every day no matter what the weather is,” Kwasnica said. “Like [during April], it was snowing and it was about twenty degrees, but we were still outside. Sometimes, with weather conditions like those, you don’t really want to go outside and run. But we do it anyway. That’s just what we do.” 

Going outside for practice without much respect for the conditions seems to be a common trend among track and field members. This rings true after seeing how Dinant, Williams, and Kwasnica all commented on how practicing in unfavorable weather is just what they do and how they are.

So, the weather might not pose as much of a problem for the track and field team as originally thought. However, there are other less-obvious obstacles that State High’s track athletes may face. In this case, Williams, Dinant, and Kwasnica talked about how mentality could be a barrier within the sport. 

Williams discussed how her mindset would change the way she performed, mentioning how a positive outlook could lead to a personal record (PR.)

“It’s different for everyone [but] if I go into it with a good mindset, then maybe I’ll PR or do well, or something,” Williams said. “Usually, when I’m super negative about it, I won’t be in the mood to throw. I’ll throw my worst because it’s like, I just feel like I can’t do it and I’m not in the right mood. So mindset is definitely key.”

Dinant touched on how feeling confined at a certain skill level affected his mentality and performance. 

“Track can be frustrating when you get stuck at a certain mark or a certain time, depending on what event you do, because you can have trouble breaking it,” Dinant said. “It can take months to break it, or maybe you’re not scoring as well as you’d like to. There’s definitely a mental aspect that plays into it. I’d say it’s even more mental than physical, depending on when you have good or bad races. It can be very frustrating.”

To add onto this, Kwasnica talked about how track could be frustrating when it feels like she’s not performing the way she wants to.

“Track can be really hard when I’m not performing like how I wanna be performing and I’m not improving, especially when I see other people around me improving,” Kwasnica said. “But I just have to remember that I’m putting the work in, so I’ll get there.”

Kwasnica also commented on how the sporadic weather could affect her mentally and not just physically.

“A few meets have been postponed because of how bad the weather can get. This can be really frustrating because the mental preparation that goes into a race is a lot, so when it’s canceled, it’s frustrating because you have to go through that again. It’s to be expected though,” Kwasnica continued, “because track seasons are usually snowy and cold once they begin. We live in Pennsylvania! We’ll get through it.” 

Even with all of the erratic spring weather, State High’s track and field team has been trying their best to get their practice in. Track is a physically demanding sport, and the mental aspect of the sport only adds to it. With spring sports coming to a close during the month of May, track and field will be finishing their regular season. Here’s to hoping that the rest of their season isn’t met with more below-zero weather.