With the calendar turning to December, and the weather getting a bit more chilly, it's time to think of...track and field?
Well, yes, indoor track and field.
There is this small order of business of finishing up the cross country season, with the Nike Cross Country championships this Saturday in Portland, Ore., and the Footlocker National championship Dec. 10 in San Diego. In fact, two Kansas runners - Molly Born of Shawnee Mission Northwest and Emily Venters of Lawrence Free State - will be in the field at the Nike meet.
But the region has a good mix of indoor track and field meets for high school runners beginning Dec. 10 when Johnson County Community College hosts its annual track festival.
The meet includes vertical and horizontal jumps, indoor shot put and running events from 60 meters up to the mile. You can find more information at this link.
Remember that Kansas rules do not allow athletes to represent their schools in these meets. You must enter as an individual (or with your local track club) and provide your own transportation.
The indoor schedule for high schoolers really gets rolling after the first of the year when you can find good options within a reasonable driving distance nearly every weekend. Here are the meets that I know of right now; if you know of others within the region, please send me information at melgares@LetsGoRun.com.
Jan. 6-7: Johnson County Community College Winter Classic
Jan. 14: Prentice Gudgen Invitational (Pittsburg State University)
Jan. 14: University of Arkansas High School Invitational
Jan. 22: Big River Running Co. High School Indoor Series (University of Missouri)
Jan. 22: Gorilla High School Classic (Pittsburg State University)
Jan. 22: Kansas State University High School Invitational
Jan. 29: Jayhawk High School Indoor (University of Kansas)
Feb. 5: Big River Running Co. High School Indoor Series (University of Missouri)
Feb. 12: Missouri Southern State University High School Open
Feb. 19: Big River Running Co. High School Indoor Series (University of Missouri)
For those who want a higher level of competition and are willing to travel, here are some of the meets across the country that are popular:
Jan. 11: Millrose Games Trials, high school (New York City)
Feb. 11: Great Southwest Track and Field Classic (Albuquerque, NM)
Feb. 16-18: Simplot Games (Pocatello, ID)
Mar. 4: The Armory Youth Championships (New York City)
Mar 10-12: USATF Hershey Indoor Track and Field Championships (Staten Island, NY)