Track coaches turn their athletes loose at the Invitational.
CHESHIRE -- Both Mount Greylock and Hoosac Valley's girls track and field coaches say there is one way to balance coaching in an invitational meet with working in the same meet: you don't.
"The thought process is, if they don't have it and can't do it by meet day, the hay's in the barn, so to speak," Greylock coach Brian Gill said from Hoosac's press box Wednesday afternoon.
While Gill spent all day in the press box, making announcements and typing results for the Berkshire Invitational, Hoosac coach Greg Lucia never left the area around the finish line. He and Hoosac boys coach Ron Namislo were busy timing and recording runners' finishes from the morning heats to the mid-afternoon finals.
While Gill said he let assistant coaches handle the on-track coaching Wednesday, Lucia said his instructions to the Hurricane girls were clear before the meet began.
"Before the meet starts, I tell them what race they're going to be in, and [to] listen to the announcements," he said. "Once the meet starts, I'm kind of committed to the finish line. They're on their own.
"You know where you've got to be from the announcements, and if you're not, well, we'll talk about it tomorrow."
The meet's early start -- 9 a.m. -- was due to both the time needed to run an invitational-style meet involving all county boys and girls teams, and the fact that it's school vacation week. That worked well for some teams, but for teams missing many performers due to vacations and/or class trips, numbers were thin.
Wahconah Regional girls coach Jeff Pike said that of his 62-girl roster, approximately 30 to 35 were participating Wednesday. Most of the Pittsfield girls roster missed the meet due to class trips.
"It was different not having my [teammates here]," said PHS' Makayla Powers, who won the high jump and was third in the 400 meters.
Powers may have had it tougher than most, in fact. She was competing five days after having her wisdom teeth pulled.
"I felt a little weaker than I usually do, but once I got moving, I got more comfortable with it," she said. "It felt like I had more adrenaline."
Attrition didn't seem to take much of a toll overall, though. The girls 100-meter dash had 10 preliminary heats, while the 200 had eight. The boys 100 had eight preliminary heats.
The Pittsfield boys also weren't hampered by vacation week. Coach Joe Albano estimated that 38 of his 43 boys on the roster made the trip to Hoosac.
"Just the fact that we can get out and run again is a big deal," he said. "[For] not having a winter season, an indoor season, getting out on the track is everything."
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