Christian Champen

Kent State's Christian Champen takes part in the men's pole vault during Friday's meet against Akron. 

The outdoor season officially started for the Kent State track and field team, bringing along new challenges that the indoor season did not have.

Kent State will travel to every outdoor meet as the Flashes do not have a home track during the outdoor season.

“I really enjoy the traveling during the outdoor season,” thrower Jake Wickey said. “You are competing somewhere else, which sometimes can be a little uncomfortable if you’re not used to it. It’s about going to other places and being able to adapt quickly. Depending on where you go, you get different levels of playing surface to adjust to.”

The indoor season gave the Flashes some home meets, while the outdoor season calls for traveling up and down the east coast.

“The most difficult thing about the outdoor season is adjusting to the weather,” pole vaulter Christian Champen said. “If the wind is blowing in your face, it's a lot harder to jump compared to a tailwind that helps make you faster. You must be able to make adjustments on the spot.”

The outdoor season has multiple factors that make it different than the indoor season. Athletes will have to adjust to certain weather patterns and having to deal with a bigger track.

No one can predict how well they will do outdoors because wind assistance is a crucial factor when it comes to timing and scoring.

Wind assistance refers to the benefit a runner receives during a race or event as registered by a wind gauge. The maximum legal wind assistance is two meters per second. If the runners receive more wind assistance than that, their times will not be eligible.

The other factor is dealing with a bigger track. A standard indoor track is 200 meters around or exactly half the size of a normal outdoor track. Depending on how big the indoor facility is determines how big the indoor track is.

“The indoor season helps prepare you to get repetitions for the outdoor season,” sprinter Nicole Yeargin said. “It helps in getting your feet wet, because the outdoor season is a whole different ball game. Indoor season is more about how fast you can run, compared to the outdoor season you know how fast you can run, you just have to go do it.”

The outdoor meets also have more events than indoor meets, which can change the events of some people on the team.

Instead of the 60-meter dash and 60-meter hurdles, runners will compete in the 100-meter dash and 100-meter hurdles. Outdoor meets also include events like the 400-meter hurdles, javelin, hammer throw, discus, steeplechase and the 10,000 meter run.

Wickey will transition from the indoor weight throw to the outdoor hammer throw.

“I use the weight throw as a practice tool for the hammer throw,” Wickey said. “The hammer throw is the event people will try to go big with, since the weight throw is not recognized at bigger events such as the Olympics. The weight throw is basically a lead into the outdoor version of the hammer throw.”

The outdoor season brings a lot of excitement to the team as they will get to travel to schools they normally wouldn't compete against

“I like the idea of traveling around,” Champen said. “Indoor season gets kind of boring competing at the same place almost every weekend. Traveling makes it a new experience with a clean slate every week. So you can go out there with an open mind and it makes it easier to compete.”

 John Conley is a sports reporter. Contact him at jconle26@kent.edu

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