Q&A: Combs awaits first meet


Anisa Khatana

STRETCH IT OUT. Outside on the track, sophomore Kaylee Combs, fifth from the left, warms up with her team before an after-school practice. Warm-ups and cool-downs include static and mobile stretching to ease muscles into and out of motion, helping prevent injuries like the shin issues Combs discussed.

As the winter track team prepares for its first meet of the season on Sat., Jan. 13, experienced runners and newbies alike continue to train their hardest. Sophomore Kaylee Combs is one returning teammate who knows both the pain and the exhilaration of running for SHS.

Your team can often be found running in the hallways or outside after school. What is the most difficult part of practices and conditioning?
In winter track, the hardest part of training, for me at least, is keeping healthy. I’ve had several past issues with my shins, and in the winter we’re mostly running on hard surfaces, making it a recipe for disaster for those with shin issues.

That helps explain why runners with walking boots and/or crutches are no novelty at SHS. What are your hopes for this first meet?
I’d say ultimately my goal for the first meet is just to get a good base for the rest of track and get comfortable with my race pace because that’s really what winter track is for. We train in the winter to prepare for the spring more so than to shoot for crazy [personal records].

What events will you be running in?
I should be running in the 800 and the 4×800 [meter races] as of now (sometimes the events move around depending on where the coaches need runners). Though we can’t always do it, the 4×800 [relay] is by far my favorite event because the 800 is a perfect distance. You also get to work with your teammates, so you have three other people to carry the weight with, making it less nerve racking.

What are the most enjoyable or rewarding parts of meets?
My favorite part of meets is probably the way home afterwards. Not to say I don’t enjoy the competition, but indoor meets are extremely long, often lasting the entirety of our Saturdays, so going home to rest is a great reward after such a long day. I’d say another of my favorite parts is cheering on my teammates running in different events. I love getting to watch my friends run though it’s often harder to do within the smaller facilities we’re in during the winter since we’re restricted to indoor tracks.

This is your second year running cross country and winter track (and most likely spring track) at SHS. What was the first winter track meet of the season like last year?
Last year for the first meet, I’d say I was probably more nervous and definitely didn’t understand how winter track meets really worked. I had never actually gone to one before that, so I had no idea how long they took to get to events and how crowded they are with the track often only being 200 meters long. That was also a shock—getting used to running on smaller laps— because for an event you have to run double the amount of laps even though it’s the same distance. Mentally, it was just something to get used to.