February 28, 2013

My Championship Experience - Men's Indoor Track & Field Edition

My Championship Experience is a diary blog written by Summit League student-athletes detailing their experiences at each of the 19 Championships. 

North Dakota State senior Travis Fitzke's championship experience at the 2013 Summit League Indoor Track & Field Championships:

 Welcome to the 2013 Summit League Indoor Track and Field Championship. My name is Travis Fitzke and I am a senior on the North Dakota State Bison track team.  This was my 11th Summit League Championship between indoor track, outdoor track, and cross country, and every championship I have been involved in has always made lasting memories for me. This year’s indoor track championship was nothing short of that.   I want to thank The Summit League and the University of South Dakota on behalf of my teammates, coaches, and fans who came to support us on doing a great job in preparing the DakotaDome venue for a successfully run track and field meet.

Saturday, February 23rd 2013
My experience began much like most of our travel days, with eating breakfast at the dining center on campus before loading the team bus at 9:30 a.m. for a four-hour trip south to Vermillion, S.D.  The bus ride allows us time for things like homework, taking a nap, playing cards, or staring out the window at the flat landscape of eastern North and South Dakota while pondering about the opportunities of the upcoming track meet. 

Once we arrived in Vermillion and checked into our hotel, we headed over to the DakotaDome for a pre-meet shake-out.  The facility was full of athletes, all getting their last reps in before the competition started the next day.  That is when the anxious feelings started.  I could feel the anticipation and readiness of our team.  This is one of the coolest things about sports to me. 

After our shake-out we headed to the local Hy-Vee grocery store for a team dinner.  Although we were a little curious how the Hy-Vee supper was going to be, everyone was pleasantly surprised and we left satisfyingly full, ready for competition the following day.  The day ended with a team meeting at the hotel and motivational speeches from our coaches and team captains.

Sunday, February 24th 2013
A 9:30 a.m. wakeup call was the start to this day, followed by continental breakfast.  Different from many other sports, track team members are all on a little different schedule.  Some guys get up earlier as they compete at different times, some are up doing morning shake outs, and some (like me) sleep in until the last minute before getting out of bed to catch the end of the hotel breakfast.

After letting my breakfast settle, I headed out for a run around the wonderful city streets of Vermillion, S.D.  I did not compete at all on Sunday as both of my events were on Monday- the final day of the championship. I finished my run at the DakotaDome in time to watch some of the heptathlon events. For me, watching teammates compete is very fun, but also very hard to do as it makes me quite anxious to compete myself.  Throughout this first day of competition there are teammates scattered around – some eating at proper times before their event, some competing, and some like me who are spectators for the day. 

After getting some lunch, I headed back to the DakotaDome and cheered on teammates for the rest of the evening until the first day concluded and we headed to USD’s union for a team pasta dinner.  At this time, there are some guys who are very worn out, as they have competed all day, and there are some who are still awaiting their first event. Emotions are varied widely throughout a track team at this point.  We headed back to the hotel for some relaxing time and another team meeting before going to bed. 

Monday, February 25th 2013
I woke up this Monday morning feeling surprisingly relaxed.  Our team was still in a good position to win The Summit League crown but there was a lot of work to be done.  After devouring some Holiday Inn breakfast I returned to my room to mentally prepare for a long day of competition. 

My first event of the championship was the mile run at 1:20 p.m.  I headed over to the DakotaDome around noon and started my warm-up shortly after.  The race did not turn out quite as I had wanted, but I placed second. There was no time to sulk about that, as I had to forget about it and prepare myself for the 5k which was less than two hours away. 

It was my first-ever 5k on the track.  Seeing 25 laps on the lap counter was a bit mentally draining, but I got through it and placed second again.  Although not completely content with that, I gave it my best effort and came up just a bit short.  At this point in the meet I also learned that our team was going to get second as well.  My goal and the goal of our team was to win.  We gave it our best effort, but some things did not go our way and we came up 13.5 points short of the USD Coyotes. 

After the awards were handed out and the meet was wrapped up, we boarded the bus again for our trip back to Fargo.  Although we left a little disappointed, we could not hang our heads as everyone gave their best effort.  After running a total of 33 laps on the track in one day, I am quite sore but ready for the outdoor season to start.  We are all back at school now hitting the books hard and preparing for our next goal, a Summit League Outdoor Track and Field Championship!

I would like to congratulate all of The Summit League teams on their competition and great representation of this league and look forward to doing it again in May! 

Go Bison!

-Travis Fitzke 

Don’t forget to check out the next edition of My Championship Experience as it follows the Men’s and Women's Basketball Championships, March 9-12 and throughout the 2012-13 season for coverage at each of The Summit League Championships.

1 comment:

  1. Great description of your experience!! Loved it!