When one thinks of track and field, it seems as if only sprinters come to mind. But after the gunshot commences the race and the runners break from their pack, a world of shot put, discus, long jump, triple jump, high jump and pole vault is revealed. This is the field aspect of what is most commonly known as track and field, a sport which gets its name from the location in which the events take place: a stadium with a circular track and a field lying in the middle. Field sports are hidden gems.
“Field has always been something that people just put in the back of their heads, but [field athletes] are actually really important. They can win competitions,” senior, 100 meter dash runner and jumps captain Mitchell Dick said.
Field athletes are constantly attempting to improve their sport. Because these athletes don’t always have other schools to compete with, they find more competition amongst themselves to perfect their skills.
“I picked field over track because in the end it’s a competition with yourself,” senior pole vaulter and captain Chase Kumasaka said.
This competition with the inner self has paid off for some Samo field athletes as several have received letters of interest from colleges.
“I’ve gotten a couple of letters from colleges saying they want me to do pole vault,” Kumasaka said.“It feels pretty good, but I don’t know, I feel like [pole vaulting] was something I just wanted to do in high school.”
While Kumasaka may be putting field sports to rest, other Samo field athletes have Olympic aspirations.
“It’s everyone’s dream to go to the Olympics, but where I am now, I don’t really think that’s going to happen if I’m being realistic,” senior Mitchell Dick said.
Some athletes owe their parents for the field sports they currently have a passion for.
“My dad wanted me to pole vault. He had seen pole vaulting before and he wanted to try it himself. It looked pretty cool so [that is how I got interested],” Kumasaka said.
Senior Yvonne Lu, who performs the long jump and the triple jump, has noticed that field sports don’t receive as much crowd attention at the beginning of a track meet. She notes however, that by the middle of the meet, the audience is enamored by the field sports, and she credits the crowd for their encouragement.
“Knowing that people are out there watching and supporting you makes you feel more motivated, and I actually perform better,” Lu said.
On top of being a pathway into college, field athletes acknowledge the therapeutic side of field sports.
“I love field because it’s pretty much my escape. It’s what I like to do in life and I feel good doing it,” Dick said. “You get a work out and it’s all around amazing.”
So the next time you hear the words track and field uttered, not only will visions of sprinters develop in your head, but so will the figures of shot put and long jumpers alike.