Being prepared is crucial for all athletes at this weekend’s NSSAF district track meet at Stellarton’s Pinoneer Coal Track: either qualify for regionals or their track and field season is over.
That is a big reason why New Glasgow Junior High head coach Trevor Boudreau created a local meet six years ago to help his athletes better prepare for districts.
In his ninth season with the team, he feels his group of athletes will be as prepared to qualify for regionals at this weekend’s districts after seeing them compete in the New Glasgow “mini-meet.”
“I started it (‘mini-meet’) six years ago because when I started coaching here I had 50 kids and we trained from March break on with nothing until districts,” said Boudreau. “Of the 50, there were 30 that didn’t qualify to the next one so that would be their season for track and field.
“Having one meet under their belt where they can get some knowledge like how to do a 4x100m relay, how to properly run out of blocks or just hearing the gun go off has helped these athletes prepare for things we could not do the same in practice.”
All Pictou County and Cumberland County junior and senior high schools will be in attendance for the meet which runs all day Friday and Saturday. Events begin at 9 a.m. on both days.
The biggest competition for New Glasgow Junior High varies with each event.
“We always know the Antigonish schools once we see them at regionals are a big middle distance region and so in that sector of track they are the main competitors we strive for,” said Boudreau. “When it comes to throwing it is the Truro group that is really really good at throwing. Different areas have their strong teams.
“Just from the meet that we had we could see that in junior girls for instance, Highland has some really fast girls in their 4x100 relays. East Pictou and New Glasgow also always seem to battle it out because we share the same number of athletes per team mostly.”
Boudreau likes having the meet before districts because it also gives athletes who haven't competed before a time to beat.
“It helps them push themselves because a lot of these kids don’t have something to tell them where they’re at,” he said. “The high school kids have done it in junior high so they know what their personal best is so it is good to give them a goal to aim to beat.”
“It is a team sport, but there’s a lot of individualism to it as well and always trying to improve on your own scores."
With this meet being the first for some athletes, the coaching staff also works on team building so every athlete receives support in their individual events.
“We try to do some team building especially in the practices at the start of the year when we’re indoors,” said Boudreau. “I do a little bit more games and team building stuff like that. It grows throughout the meets and season as there will be someone competing and they want to watch them run or high jump.”