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Taylor Smith participates in the high jump during Ohio's Cherry Blossom invitational on Saturday (BLAKE NISSEN | FILE)

Track and Field: Ohio opens its outdoor season this weekend in South Carolina

The Bobcats kick off their outdoor season this weekend at the Adidas Winthrop Invitational in Rock Hill, S.C. 

Ohio has been on a month-long hiatus since it closed its indoor season at the Mid-American Conference Championships in Bowling Green. At that meet, Ohio placed three individuals and a relay team on the podium, accumulating a total of 13 points and placing in 12th as a team.

Ohio faces a much more challenging schedule outdoors this season than it did indoors. The schedule will consist of a lot more traveling as well.

Aside from this weekend’s meet in South Carolina, Ohio will travel to North Carolina twice this outdoor season for the Raleigh Relays at N.C. State and the Charlotte Invitational. Ohio will also make a trip back to Columbus for the annual Jesse Owens Memorial Classic. All three of those meets will boast impressive fields.  

The Bobcats will host two meets this spring. Hosting a meet is an opportunity the Bobcats didn’t have indoors. They will host the Ohio Cherry Blossom Invitational in early April and the Ohio Open in early May to close out the regular season. 

With the weather being so unpredictable this time of year, it only makes adjusting from indoors to outdoors harder for track and field athletes. 

“With outdoor, you kind of have to be prepared for anything,” Bobcat senior thrower Jordan Porter said. “It’s snowing right now and we were (practicing) outside two days ago, so we try to incorporate as much indoor things as we do outdoor even if we do have to come inside to practice.”

The Bobcats haven’t had the amount of practice time outdoors as they would’ve liked to have this March with the substantially low temperatures and unbearable conditions the month has brung on certain days. That means the Bobcats have had to find other ways to still be productive with their practice time.

One way the Ohio shot putters adjust to practicing indoors is by switching up their shot puts. 

“We’ll switch the shot puts up a little,” Porter said. “We’ll still use outdoor shots, we’ll just throw them inside rather than use the indoor shots.”

Junior thrower Gaza Odunaiya says that learning to be flexible with the weather is key.

“Knowing that even though we have to practice indoors, just trying to practice what you will and not really letting the fact that you’re not outside affect you,” Odunaiya said. “I think we’re all really used to the fact that the weather will be all over the place during the spring so just being ready for whatever comes at you is important.” 

The Adidas Winthrop Invitational kicks off on Friday with field events beginning at 2 p.m. and the running events beginning an hour later. Saturday’s action starts off with the field events at 9 a.m. followed by the running events at 9:30 a.m. 

30 schools and almost 900 athletes will be in attendance at Winthrop’s Irwin Belk Track and Field Complex. 


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