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PRC track getting better with each meet

Pearl River Central’s track and field team started its season two weeks ago when the Blue Devils traveled to West Harrison.

Prior to the meet, the athletes were hard at work preparing for the start of the season.

Coach Blake Rutherford works with the speed athletes while Coach Marty Lee works with the long distance athletes.

There are also several football players who participate in shot put and discus to round out the team.

The Blue Devils don’t have an actual track to practice on, so the athletes must make do with what they have.

“We’re a product of our environment. We’re running on grass fields and it’s definitely a hindrance. Not having a track is huge,” Rutherford said.

While the training environment may not be ideal, the athletes are still able to refine their technique and work on the intricacies of specific events.

Athletes are also able to take advantage of the experience they gain at meets to then use later in the season.

PRC has now participated in three meets and Rutherford said there’s been some serious progress made during this early part of the season.

The Blue Devils have spent some time on official tracks, which has in turn shown them how to improve when they go back to training.

“We’ve gotten better because the kids are able to run, see the marks on the track and know what they mean. It’s night and day from being on a track to running around on grass fields, but it’s a hurdle we have to overcome,” Rutherford said.

It’s been a busy start to the season for the Blue Devils, but that was a purposeful choice on the part of Rutherford when it came to scheduling.

Exposing athletes to different environments forces them to adapt, while also allowing the Blue Devils to gain experience before the start of district competitions.

“Just in the last two weeks we’ve hit the ground running and we have a meet a week from here on out until district,” Rutherford said.

District won’t start until April 9 in Hattiesburg, but PRC will use the time prior to the meet as a way to get some of the younger members on the squad time on the track.

Rutherford said the veteran track athletes have been helpful in the new athletes’ acclimation to the sport.

“They’re excelling in all the right things and they’re impressing me with how quickly they’re learning the strategies,” Rutherford said.

These early season meets are part of Rutherford’s evaluation process.

Athletes learn which events they’re best suited for, which then allows Rutherford to put his athletes in the best possible position to succeed when district rolls around.

“The next couple of weeks, now that we’re comfortable, they should really start honing in on specialty events and what we have to do to get better,” Rutherford said.

PRC’s next track meet will take place next Thursday at Long Beach.