It’s the first big weekend of the spring sports season and at London High School that means the annual Red Raider Relays track and field meet.
The weather will likely be cool, windy and possibly wet, but it’s become an early season tradition that London coach Andy Crawford said his team is again looking forward to hosting.
“Not every school gets to host a large home track meet,” Crawford said. “You have to have great facilities and a great group of parents and alums to serve as volunteers. Here at London we have both, and it’s great to have the opportunity to show other schools that we do.
“We always enjoy kicking off the season with the Red Raider Relays; it just seems like the right thing to do, just as we like to end the cross country regular season with the Erin L. Nance. We think that both events should be special, for the runners and for the fans. It will also be our first time running competitively on our new re-conditioned track surface, so we’re definitely looking forward to putting on a good show.”
The Red Raiders will welcome in a collection of schools of differing sizes and abilities at 9 a.m. on Saturday, April 5, including neighborhing rival Madison-Plains, fellow Mid-State League Ohio Division foe Bexley, Columbus City Schools members South and West, as well as Benjamin Logan, Bishop Ready, Buckeye Valley, Grove City Christian, Harvest Preparatory, Kenton Ridge and Springfield Northeastern.
The non-traditional set up of the relay-style meet gives teams a chance to mix-and-match athletes together that usually wouldn’t get a chance to compete with each other. But it does have its drawbacks, especially for a team heavy on distance athletes and short on sprinters like London.
“From a competitive standpoint, the biggest difference between a relay meet and a traditional invitational is that a relay meet tends to place more emphasis on the sprints,” Crawford said. “The 3,200-meter run doesn’t exist, but there can be as many as seven or eight different 400-meter races.
“It really challenges a team short on sprinting numbers, like we are, to fill all the spots and all the events. Often, you have to choose to sit out a race in order to be more competitive in another, and runners are routinely asked to do something outside of their comfort zone. But, it also allows you to put together relay teams comprised of athletes who may not otherwise compete together — a 200-meter runner with an 800-meter runner, for example. I believe it can help a team, especially a team like ours that’s composed mostly of freshmen and seniors, to bond and to learn to work together.”
Chris Miles can be reached at (740) 852-1616, ext. 18 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.