Track runners and parents angered over long-lasting meets

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Josh White

Sophomore Jacob Kaypour warms up during a track practice on Dec. 15. Many Vikings and parents have been enraged over long hours of meets every week.

Seth Barshay, Sports Editor

This season, the boys winter track team has faced a bit of a dilemma.  Around once a week during the season, the team has been forced to attend meets that go late into the night because one of the facilities in which they compete, Saint Anthony’s School, does not allow students to use the building until 6:00 p.m. This results in players not getting home until around midnight these nights, which has an adverse effect on their academics.  Getting home later means less time for homework, studying, and sleep for the boys track team.

“Every year during the winter track season I see a noticeable decline from the first quarter in my grades.  This has happened to me the past two years.  While this could be the result of tests getting harder, I think that my preparation for tests is worse in the winter during winter track,” said junior captain Peter Kirgis.

Less sleep also results in less time to recover from the rigorous exercise that the track team takes part in nearly every day of the week. This could negatively affect the team’s overall performance, along with decreasing focus during class.

“I definitely think it affects our overall health.  Less sleep limits the body’s ability to recover from the day, making us run down and more vulnerable to illnesses and injuries,” said junior Matt Kramer.  “Just from the minimal sleep alone, it could affect the growth of our players.  The huge amount of exercise only adds more problems to it.”

These late meets have already affected these students’ academic lives.  Several players have been calling the school saying they do not feel well and missing early classes the mornings after these meets at Saint Anthony’s.

“Because of the late times of these practices and meets, I had to skip a day of school last week and say that I was ‘sick.’ It’s really tough with such a lack of sleep to function in class the next day and to stay focused,” said an anonymous student.

Students have to figure out if their priorities lie in attending every class after the meet or getting extra sleep and being able to focus better for the rest of the school day.

“In a sense, it really is true that they don’t feel well.  This raises an interesting point.  What is more important: one class in the morning or that extra hour of sleep? It is a sacrifice that students and parents feel they need to make so that they can stay healthy,” said Kirgis.

These late meets create a vicious cycle for players.  As they stay up late, they end up missing classes, which results in them having to make up work that is now added to the schoolwork they already need to do late at night after meets, and so on.

“It’s aggravating to have to make up the work plus being tired on top of that,” said sophomore Aaron Siff-Scherr.

Voicing the opinion of the students, parent Ms. Melissa Kirgis emailed Athletic Director Ms. Stephanie Joannon last week expressing the concerns of the players and their families and bringing this issue to the school’s attention.  On Dec.  15, Ms. Kirgis and Ms. Joannon met to discuss the issue.  At this time, no solution for the players has been agreed upon.

According to the players, one such solution would be to reach an agreement with Saint Anthony’s to hold more meet days.  If this were to occur, Nassau County could divide the meets into ones with less teams, the meets would take less time, and students would get home earlier.

In any case, the team is determined to solve its problem and get some more sleep to help performance both on the track and in the classroom.