By Jordan Stiede
An overbooked gym, 6 a.m. practices in a different city, less time together as a team: these are just some of the difficulties the Ripon College men’s and women’s track and field teams are dealing with because of the renovation of Storzer this season. However, the athletes believe that these obstacles will only increase their mental toughness and prepare them for challenges they will face the rest of the year.

“The Storzer renovation has made it a bit more difficult to practice as an entire team since we don’t have a lot of space for sprinting, throwing and event specific drills,” senior hurdler Tessa Dillenbeck said. “However, I think we are going to be a lot more mentally tough than some other teams in our conference because we have had to work around so much adversity this season.”

On Mondays and Tuesdays, the team practices early in the morning and lifts in the afternoon, but they are not able to practice at Ripon College. Instead, on Mondays they practice at 6 a.m. at Ripon High School, and on Tuesdays they travel to the YMCA in Oshkosh for 6 a.m. practice. For the rest of the week, the team practices at different times during the day when the other sports teams like basketball and baseball are not using the gym.

“We are not looking at our practice situation in a negative way,” senior Zach Schmidt said. “The school has never had an indoor track so our team knows how to train with what is given to us.”

Schmidt, who is a distance runner, noted that the Storzer renovation doesn’t affect him as much because distance runners are usually outside quite a bit during the winter season. However, he said that the individuals who run sprints and the field events are fighting the adversity of having to find other ways to get their workouts in.

Even though the construction on Storzer makes this season a little difficult, both Dillenbeck and Schmidt acknowledged that the new indoor track being built will be a huge asset to the team in the future.

“With the new indoor track, each of the event groups will be able to practice their individual events in a real ‘meet’ environment and the surface will be easier on athletes as far as preventing injuries,” Dillenbeck said. “I also think the new facility is going to bring in some great recruits and I am excited to see how the track and field program will grow as a result.”

The old tartan area that the track team used in previous years was always crowded with each event group trying to complete their workouts in the same area. The team even had to do some of their sprints right next to the basketball court as the basketball teams were practicing.

“This is my first year running track so I am really excited to be able to train on an indoor track instead of wherever we can find space,” freshman sprinter Miye Aoki-Kramer said. “It will also be really nice to have a space where the entire team can train together.”

Even with the unorthodox practice schedule, the team has been successful this season, and they have many goals for the rest of the season.

“I think that both the women’s and men’s team have a good chance of placing top three in conference this year,” Dillenbeck said. “Each of our athletes has set high goals for this season and we have the work ethic and mentality to accomplish those goals.”