MOUNT VERNON — Mount Vernon boys track coach Jim Lindsey surveyed the line of youngsters that fell in and formed the back row of his squad as they were getting ready to stretch in the June-like, 80-degree-plus sunshine.
“See this back row,” said Lindsey, motioning toward them. “They’re all freshman, so it will be ‘Track 101’ here for a while — maybe the first couple of meets. They’ve been told, ‘You’re not freshmen,’ they’ve got to step into the shoes right away and get going. The big thing is, early in the season for these new guys, is to try to keep the injuries to a minimum.”
This year, 17 of Lindsey’s athletes are freshmen. These youngsters, however, are not just raw recruits. The majority have been through the middle school program and quite a few have been running for Lindsey all winter, where they were fed their first taste of competition at the high school varsity level.
“The majority of our indoor team were freshmen,” said Lindsey, who worked with around 20 runners over the winter. “For that reason, we only hit the meets closer to town and we really didn’t stand out at any of them. We really didn’t have an indoor season like in years past. We were, basically, doing conditioning. I tried to get them in for winter conditioning. When Steve Hill was our head coach, that was our big thing was to get them in the winter for conditioning, mainly, and to get them into some indoor meets so they could get to see some competition and get them better prepared for the outdoor season. The (older kids) were coming off the fall season and a lot of them were on the basketball team, so they were already conditioning.”