DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — The girls of the Providence Christian indoor track team are the defending state champions of the one through three a title.
This season, after graduating several talented seniors last year, the young team is trying to go back-to-back.
The Eagles’ journey to a state title is a little more challenging this year.
Many girls on the team have never done track before, but what they lack in inexperience they make up for in effort.
“It’s just been a steep learning curve to kind of start things,” Head Coach Cliff Carter said. “They competed very well at their first meet. I feel really good. We have our second meet coming up on Saturday and I think that they will show significant improvement.”
It’s about halfway through the season but they’re only competing in their second meet.
That’s because there aren’t many tracks nearby so the team has to travel to Birmingham to compete, but that doesn’t stop the Eagles from aiming for another state championship.
“We just have to continue on the training plan that we’re on right now,” sophomore Sydney Gallardo said. “We have done it before and with far less people we can do it again.”
“Give it all we’ve got and not just try in one certain event, because we’re going to need every point we can get,” sophomore Madeline Patterson said.
The Eagles don’t have a track of their own. They practice near and in the woods behind their campus.
“We’ve got some air mattresses that we use as a high jump pit and we’ve used literally just a dirt pit that we’ve dug out for long jump and triple jump,” Carter said. “Other than that we just kind of throw down cones and hope that the weather is not too miserable.”
Practicing outside means they’re battling daylight this time of year.
Instead of using the lack of facilities as an excuse, the girls find ways to use it to their advantage.
“I think it actually helps us because when you actually get on the track it’s so much easier than running in the sand and up hills,” sophomore Anna Catherine Farris said.
As long as the girls stay disciplined for the next month, Carter believes they have a solid shot at a state title repeat.
“It’s going to take a good strong mental day,” Carter said. “It’s not easy, but they’re well practiced and if they have a good grasp on the task at hand I think they’ve got a good chance.”
The Eagles’ next meet is Saturday in Birmingham.
They’ll compete for another state title on Feb. 4.