The popularity of indoor track continues to grow as more universities, colleges, and communities build facilities that include tracks. This year, 408 high schools participated in the OATCCC Championships at The Spire, one of the greatest sites in the United States. 

Congratulations to Gahanna Lincoln (Division 1 girls), Lancaster (Division 1 boys), Marengo Highland (Division 2/3 girls), and Cleveland Glenville (Division 2/3 boys) who won their respective divisions. Many athletes continued their seasons by competing at one of the several national indoor championships, with great success. Among those were Lancaster boys’ 4 x 800 team and Juliette Laracuente in the triple jump who captured gold medals.

--The annual shoe review in Runner’s World lists the top 26 models. The average cost is $180.00. Add to that the price of the current Nike spikes and the investment of our formerly affordable sport has entered a new era.

--In the recent NFL draft, 16 of the 31 first round picks participated in track and field in high school. This pattern continued throughout all the rounds.  90% of ALL players selected were multiple sport athletes in high school, with over 60% participating in track.

--According to the OHSAA Rule Book, the use of the infield areas for warming up is prohibited. At a few venues, such as Pickerington North, this does not present a problem, thanks to the location of the middle school stadium adjacent to the similar high school facility; however, at the vast majority of sites, this luxury does not exist, thus necessitating the use of sidewalks, parking lots, and grassy areas that are often wet. Additionally, these areas are located in neighborhoods that are unsafe due to criminal activity. As a result of the “infield rule,” a choice must be made: 1) Limit the warm up to the availability of the backstretch of the track; 2) Send your athletes to a dangerous location that could lead to tragic consequences. As a side note: We compete in several meets that are held in unsafe areas. No athlete is allowed to leave the stadium for ANY reason, except when he or she arrives or departs. This is not being overly cautions, it is dealing with reality.

--On a sad note the track community lost one of its finest, when Ron Altoff passed away on March 29, at the age of 89.  Not only was he a nationally recognized and respected track official, but he was a first class gentleman who served as a great role model for everyone involved in our sport.

--Legendary Beaumont coach and OATCCC Hall of Fame member, Jim, Emory recently died. He led the Blue Streaks to 11 State Championships in track and seven state titles in cross-country. His passion for these sports was unsurpassed.

-- Olympians who have left us in 2023 include:

‘48 Bronze Medalist in the long jump, Herb Douglas (age 101)

‘84 Silver Medalist in the high hurdles, Greg Foster

‘68 Gold Medalist in the high jump, Dick Fosbury

‘52 and ‘56 Gold Medalist in the pole vault, Bob Richards

‘60 Gold Medalist in the long jump, Ralph Boston

‘96 Bronze Medalist in the 400 hurdles, Calvin Davis

‘2016 Gold Medalist in the 4x100 relay, Tori Bowie

--In the April 2023 edition of Track and Field News, sprinter Noah Lyles’ response to the NCAA Indoor Championship being broadcast behind an ESPN paywall: “This is disgusting! How many times are we going to shoot ourselves in the foot as a sport...”  This writer’s response: “Until there is no foot left.”

--The early 2023 season weather has been harsh, to put it mildly; however, once again, uncomplaining athletes braved the wind, snow, rain, and freezing temperatures and continue to prove why they are special people who compete in a very special sport. Thank you for serving as an inspiration to all of us.

Yours in track,

Rod O’Donnell

Read more of Coach O’Donnell’s Keeping Track articles on www.runohio.com

2022 Thoughts By Rod O’Donnell  https://www.runohio.com/index.php/news-features/features/341-keeping-track-2022-thoughts-by-rod-o-donnell

Life Lessons from Cross-Country - http://runohio.com/index.php/news-features/features/10-life-lessons-from-cross-country-updated-2020  

Marshall University add Men’s Track & Field - https://www.runohio.com/index.php/news-features/news/336-keeping-track-marshall-university-add-men-s-track-field-by-rod-o-donnell

Critical Time for Cross Country and Track & Field - http://www.runohio.com/index.php/news-features/features/96-track            

Keeping Track - https://www.runohio.com/index.php/news-features/features/289-keeping-track-by-rod-o-donnell

Football and Track & Field - http://www.runohio.com/index.php/news-features/features/78-keeping-track-football-and-track-field           

Two Book Reviews - http://www.runohio.com/index.php/news-features/features/263-keeping-track-two-book-reviews-by-rod-o-donnell

Keeping Track – Remembering – http://runohio.com/index.php/news-features/news/211-keeping-track-remembering-by-rod-o-donnell

Facts - http://www.runohio.com/index.php/news-features/features/100-keeping-track-facts       

Track - http://runohio.com/index.php/news-features/features/67-keeping-trac          

2021 Track & Field - http://runohio.com/index.php/news-features/features/200-keeping-track-2021-track-field     

Keeping Track - http://runohio.com/index.php/news-features/features/173-keeping-track-2    

2020 OHSAA State Cross Country Championships - http://runohio.com/index.php/news-features/news/134-keeping-track-by-rod-o-donnell-2020-ohsaa-state-cross-country-championships 

COVID 19 and Sports - http://runohio.com/index.php/news-features/news/120-keeping-track-covid-19-and-sports-by-rod-o-donnell    

Marc Bloom’s Amazing Racers - http://runohio.com/index.php/news-features/features/43-keeping-track-marc-bloom-s-amazing-racers-by-rod-o-donnel  -

When Legends Run Free  - https://www.runohio.com/index.php/news-features/features/396-keeping-track-when-legends-run-free-by-rod-o-donnell    

Ohio Men College Runners – https://www.runohio.com/index.php/news-features/news/235-keeping-track-ohio-men-college-runners-by-rod-o-donnell 

College of William & Mary – http://runohio.com/index.php/news-features/news/121-keeping-track-college-of-william-mary-by-rod-o-donnell     

Have a Healthy, Happy and Safe 2023!

I hope to see you at a race soon.

Matt McGowan