Track coach Wayne Ferguson put runners through their paces recently as track and field practice began for Tucumcari High School boys and girls. Coach Ferguson said the teams have been working on strength conditioning since early February.
“We’ve been working on total body workouts in the gym and weightroom,” said Ferguson. “Track events demand overall strength.”
The Tucumcari girls have been state champions in track and field the past two years. Ferguson said it will be tough to repeat this year.
We lost three important seniors,” said Ferguson. We can still do well, however. I expect the boys to do well this year. We’ve got a lot of juniors on the boys’ team.”
Many of the track athletes play other sports as well. That is a welcome practice at Tucumcari High School, said Ferguson.
“We want our athletes to play a variety of sports,” he said. “Knowledge of other sports can help a track athlete with certain skills, and it’s also a way to keep athletes physically fit year-round.”
When it comes to actual track practice, Ferguson said he has a very simple approach to improving a runner’s speed.
“The best way for a runner to improve, is to just keep running,” said Ferguson. That’s what we do for practice, we run.”
Assistant track coach Alicia Trujillo, who specializes in coaching distance runners, echoed Ferguson in saying that the best running practice is more running.
“The best way to practice is to take the runners out to the highway, let them out and let them run,” she said.
Tucumcari’s distance runners will often run down the streets and roads of Tucumcari after school.
Recently , at the school’s track, Coach Ferguson had team members running various distances, with short periods of rest in between runs.
“We have them run for about 45 minutes total each practice, said Ferguson. We build up from 200 meters all the way up to a mile, sometimes two miles.”
Ferguson said Tucumcari has a good chance to do well in throwing events.
“Our discus, shot put and javelin throwers are pretty good.” Three of our girls did well in throwing events last year,” he said.
The track team travels to Dexter March 19 for their first meet. Tucumcari will not host a meet until the end of April.
Coach Ferguson, who is also the school’s athletic director, said he enjoys coaching track because it’s a little less intensive than a contact sport like football.
“I like the fact that we are outdoors during spring weather,” said Ferguson.“ “I used to coach football. Track is a little more mellow.”