Bring on the sunshine

LIHU’E — The sun was shining, and beads of perspiration dotted the bodies of the Kaua’i High School students who turned out Monday for their scheduled track practice.

They have been practicing for three weeks on the new rubberized track dedicated March 4, and there has yet to be a meet with all track stars because of the recent inclement weather.

Today is the rescheduled Mayor’s Invitational postponed Friday due to the heavy rains that blanketed the island. The meet is scheduled to start at 4 p.m., weather permitting.

“It should be good,” said Savannah Rollins, one of the Kaua’i High School track team members, as she laced up shoes she outfitted with short spikes. Nearby, Courtney Wilson, another track member, worked to get hers put on despite the gum wad that she had picked up.

Ron Velasco, coach for Kaua’i High School, said most of the track team participants should have no problem improving their performance just by using running or jogging shoes that are available at the shoe stores locally.

However, there are special waffle shoes that have specialized soles for use on the rubberized surfaces. He also has a supply of short spikes that have been approved for use on the track during competition.

Rollins, who has been practicing on the new surface for the past several weeks, said of the surface, “It’s better. You don’t slip.”

She explained that on the old gravel surface, there was the possibility of slipping on the starts. Wilson agreed.

Velasco noted that during practice sessions, the runners are not supposed to use spikes, but are allowed to use spikes during actual competition.

Velasco felt that this was disadvantageous to the runners, especially those in the more specialized events like the hurdles, where stepping and getting their rhythm right is critical in improving their individual performances.

However, most of the Kaua’i runners seemed to take the rule in stride as they turned out in their nonspiked shoes to get in some practice time.

Jett Jasper, one of the school’s multi-sport athletes, noted that he had three pairs of shoes with him: one for track practice, one for baseball practice (which was taking place next door), and one that he wore to get from one field to the next.

“The ones for school are in the car,” he laughed.

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