Track athletes go the distance to compete


The SPIRE Institute proclaims itself to have a “unique capacity to simultaneously host clubs, leagues, tournaments and championship events no matter the weather or the season,”. The 750,000 sq. foot complex features an uncommon 300 meter track. The usual outdoor track is 400 meters and the common indoor track is 200 meters. Photo Courtesy of Meghan DiGiovanna.

With SHS being the only school, other than Mason, in southern Ohio to have a winter track program it proves tough to find meets organized within reasonable distance.

The team’s first meet on Jan. 16 was located a lengthy five hours away in Cleveland where they competed at the SPIRE Institute, one of the largest indoor, multi-sport, training and competition complexes in the world.

“I thought [SPIRE] was really big and lively. I heard it was a really cool track to run on but I didn’t expect anything like what I saw, ” senior Lisa Ruffin said.

SHS was not the only team to travel extreme distances to compete. Track and field clubs and teams came from places as far as New York and Canada to participate.

At 10:00 am the team set out for the next five hours, arriving at Spire at about 3:30 pm and the meet began at 5:00 pm. By 10:30 pm, the meet was still far from done but the SHS team had to leave in order to return home on time.

Most of the team rode a school bus to and from the meet. Despite,the bus’s lack of comfort proving to be difficult for the team to endure for the total of almost 10 hours spent both to and from SPIRE, the team had lots of fun.

“Even though the bus ride [was not] fun, seeing the track was so worth it,” senior Lisa Ruffin said.

On the other hand, a few rode in what is known as the “Shoe Bus,” Buckeye Running Store’s van driven by store owner and team coach Mr. Steve Nester. The van provided a much comfier ride for the athletes.

The original arrival time, 2:00 am, was delayed to about 4:00 am due to the long meet and rest stops. To the teams good fortune there was a four day weekend and no homework due to MLK day and exam week.

With more meets to come the team will continue to travel for their meets until the spring season when more teams begin competing and meets become more local and convenient.

“I’m really excited for the spring season and to have meets outside,” freshman Christina Hanich said.

Learn more about SPIRE  here