The Advocate

All teams adjusting to limitations

Track+team+members+%28left+to+right%29+Samantha+Klutz%2C+Alana+Thomas%2C+Taylor+Briscoe+and+Samantha+Miller+run+laps+around+the+track+in+the+Wellness+Center+last+Friday.
Track team members (left to right) Samantha Klutz, Alana Thomas, Taylor Briscoe and Samantha Miller run laps around the track in the Wellness Center last Friday.

Track team members (left to right) Samantha Klutz, Alana Thomas, Taylor Briscoe and Samantha Miller run laps around the track in the Wellness Center last Friday.

Justin Schmithorst

Justin Schmithorst

Track team members (left to right) Samantha Klutz, Alana Thomas, Taylor Briscoe and Samantha Miller run laps around the track in the Wellness Center last Friday.

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When spring comes, Pitt-Johnstown’s track team takes their mark to perform, but, with complications, they have some trouble taking their mark during winter.

With no indoor track and field to practice, track team members have to practice in the Wellness Center and Sports Center.

According to head coach Carl Keifer Jr., his team has to work with the small space that they are provided.

“We use the stairwells, treadmills and stationary bikes,” Keifer said.

“We also use the pool for workouts.  It is hard to find one space for 50-60 athletes to practice on.”

Despite their limited practice space, four members have the potential  of qualifying for the NCAA Division 2 nationals.

According to Keifer, his athletes have done well with the limited practice space.

“We have four potential NCAA National qualifiers and numerous Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference qualifiers.

“The athletes have broken many school records as well,” Keifer said.

The athletes will also use other equipment that they think will help.

Keifer said to accomplish certain things, the athletes have to get creative.

“Jumpers will also do more pool workouts than when can jump outdoors and sprinters do more plyometric workouts on the stairs than outdoors.

“If the workout calls for a certain time or distance, we can use the treadmill and use the speed/time, or we can use the stationary bikes,” Keifer said.

Pitt-Johnstown is not the only university track program that deals with small space issues in their offseason.

According to Keifer, Pennsylvania State University (State College, Pa.) and West Virginia University (Morgantown, W. Va.) have the same issues.

“This problem isn’t just here at Pitt-Johnstown. Every university with a track team faces the same problem.

“The closest indoor track facility to us is in Penn State.  The next closest is WVU,” Keifer said.

Keifer said that, if he could ask the Athletic Department officials for one thing, it would be an indoor practice track.

“If we could build an indoor practice facility for all outdoor sports, we would all benefit,” Keifer said.

An indoor practice space for Pitt-Johnstown outdoor sports is few and far between, according to Athletic Director Pat Pecora.

“As an athletic department, we try to have support for every athlete we can,” Pecora said.

“We’re not always going to have everything we’d like, but we’d rather have some things than not have a team at all.”

According to Pecora, the athletic department has the thing they need– scholarship money.

“I and the administration members felt that it would be better to give an athlete the opportunity to compete rather than give them the ideal equipment, or things,” Pecora said.

“We have worked around issues with every team at Pitt-Johnstown when it came to practice space.”

According to Pecora, the athletic department members are investigating the Vocational Technical school to give Pitt-Johnstown sports more indoor practice space.

“We have to branch out and do what we can do,” Pecora said.

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All teams adjusting to limitations