Hitchhiker’s Guide to Track and Field

Mayzee Paleveda, Journalism I student

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Freshman Joy Kutz recently joined the Track and Field team at Mechanicsburg Area Senior high School, but this is just one more sport to add to the list. Even though Kutz is new to track and therefore only wishes to “progress as the season goes on,” she hopes to broaden her sports-horizon even more by finding multiple events that she would enjoy.

Track and Field is full of so many events, whether it’s running, throwing or jumping, and is capable of inciting any athlete to join. Before diving directly into this diverse sport, it’s important to understand which events would be most beneficial to which athletes. Kutz has started throwing javelin, but is interested in trying another event.

A javelin has a simple shaft and metal head and must be thrown in a certain style. According to a LiveStrong article titled “Rules and Regulations for the Javelin Throw,” the javelin is thrown over the shoulder and the thrower cannot turn around until the javelin lands. If the javelin’s head is not the first part of the javelin to strike the ground, then the throw does not count. After warming up and the occasional agility and/or weight training, Kutz then works on “perfecting all the steps needed to be a good thrower”.

Other possible examples of throwing events are shot put and discus. Both involve heavy objects as the main projectile, but the rules for each differ. Shot put requires the thrower to place the shot (the projectile) by the neck and only use one hand to launch it. By contrast, discus uses a counter-clockwise motion, but has no other requirements on how the throw is performed. Similar to numerous other events, the athlete is confined to a certain outlined space to perform.

Just as there are various throwing events, there are multiple jumping events. The triple jump and the long jump are based on achieving the most distance, while pole vaulting and the high jump compete in regards to height. Of those four events, pole vault is the only one where the jumper is holding equipment while performing.

Lastly, the numerous running events are divided by lengths around the track. Sprinting events will typically be lap around the track (400 meters) or less. Distance events, by contrast, are much longer and can reach up to a mile (1,600 meters). Another running event is hurdles, which might be considered a jumping event if it’s athletes spent more time being airborne. Hurdlers are trained to leap over every hurdle for either 100 or 400 meters. Out of all the running events, hurdles are more of a mix of jumping and running.

Kutz isn’t particularly fond of running, but has tried a plethora of different sports. From land to water, her support at home has never wavered through her journey of exploring new sports.

“Most of the time I get a lot of support with my parents always taking me back and forth to practices for track, volleyball, swimming, and now water polo,” Kutz said. “They have spent hard earned money on everything I need for sports”.