There is a new sport gaining popularity at Hackett this winter: indoor track. Over the last few years, one or two students participated, but this year, seven Hackett track athletes have branched out and either started or joined indoor club teams.
Marek Butkiewicz and Gavin Sehy are two such students. After having extremely successful outdoor track and cross country seasons, they started their own indoor team called Kalamazoo Distance Project.
“We wanted to compete so we can improve for outdoor,” said Gavin.
Along with them, senior pole vaulter Sean Pierucci and senior sprinter Gabe Oeurn have also joined the team. Despite not being distance runners, they wanted to enter indoor meets to get ahead on their senior seasons.
Kalamazoo Distance Project has started off strong in their first season, but there is another team in the area available to high schoolers.
Project 131 is also a distance-oriented club that includes athletes from all over the Kalamazoo, Portage, and Battle Creek areas. They have been around for a few years now and have seen some very successful athletes, usually sending a couple to compete at indoor nationals every year. Senior Nick Doerr and Junior Alex Dumont both compete for Project 131, and have found success in the early winter meets.
While it is too late to join a team for this year, anyone can still compete in meets. Almost all meets accept unattached athletes, where athletes register on their own and aren’t associated with a team. Over the next three weekends, there are multiple meets scheduled across the state. The L.A.B. in Ypsilanti hosts meets every weekend and is also the location of the Indoor State Championships this year. Grand Valley State, Saginaw Valley State, Aquinas, and Hillsdale are also popular hosts for meets.
For any interested students: to find a scheduled meet, go to either mi.milesplit.com or athletic.net and see what is available on the date you would like to compete. Once you find a meet, registering is easy. Just go to either milesplit.com or athletic.net, make or login to your account, choose the events you would like to participate in, and click submit. Some meets will require an online payment and some will ask you to pay at the door. Meet costs can range anywhere from $5-$20 depending on the venue and number of events. If needed, any of the mentioned Hackett athletes can help.
Indoor meets are a great idea for anyone interested in outdoor track to practice and improve ahead of Hackett’s next winning season. As Gavin Sehy said, “Having multiple athletes competing in indoor reaffirms the championship culture within Hackett track. It shows the younger guys that you have to put in the work all year long to continue Hackett’s winning traditions.” Clearly that attitude is working, with Hackett’s track program seeing consistent regional and state victories in the majority of recent seasons.
Written by: Sean Pierucci and Nick Doerr