By MICHAEL KELLY
Recorder Sports Staff
TOWN OF AMSTERDAM -- After a season of adjustments and trying new things, it is make-or-break time for the Amsterdam boys and girls indoor track teams.
"We all set goals at the beginning of the season," says senior Lady Ram Kelly Paris. "Now, it's time to reach our goals."
In their first year participating in the indoor season, the Rams and Lady Rams used the campaign's first several meets to get a feel for the competition before things turn serious Sunday in the Big 10 Championships at Williams College in Williamstown, Mass.
"This has been one of the meets we've focused on all year," boys head coach Kevin Wilary says.
Both Amsterdam teams have a chance to win Sunday, with the boys' main competition coming from Christian Brothers Academy and Schenectady, while the girls' chief rivals are Albany, Schenectady and Troy.
"We think we have a good opportunity to win," says girls head coach Stu Palczak. "The ladies are in good shape, we've got people in the right events and we're very optimistic."
Getting the athletes into the right spots has been a season-long process, the coaches say. While the Rams and Lady Rams spent much of the season trying new events and figuring out the indoor-track game, the coaches used the time to figure out how to maximize their athletes.
"We've changed a few things from what our earlier ideas were, but we think we're putting the best team out there now," Wilary says.
"We're a lot more prepared now than we were at the beginning of the season when this was a brand-new thing," says senior Ram Anthony Stewart.
The toughest thing about the past few weeks for the Amsterdam teams has been the cold weather forcing the squads to move their practices indoors. Even during the cold of November and December, the clubs practiced on Amsterdam High School's outdoor track -- but, now, the clubs are confined to using the school's fitness room and hallways for their workouts. Rather than being able to run laps and use the track's measurements to prepare for certain events, the team has instead focused its practices on
"It's really different to work inside," says sophomore Lady Ram McKenna Palczak. "Outside, it is more of a set workout. Inside, you're really just running around the halls."
Of course, just "running around the halls" is a far more favorable practice at this point than what would be waiting for the clubs outside on the track.
"Oh, definitely," says Palczak, "because of the temperature out there."
The Rams' and Lady Rams' latest adjustment will come Sunday with the surface at Williams College, which will allow the Amsterdam athletes to use spikes for the first time this season. The combination of the surer footing and the stakes of Sunday's meet should help the teams in their quest for a league title in their inaugural indoor seasons.
"We're really going to try to bring it to a new level, try to score a lot of points for the team and show what we can do," says Stewart. "This is an important meet."
"We're definitely going to push ourselves. ... We want to show what Amsterdam can do, especially with this being our first year doing indoor," adds teammate Chris Rost. "We want to win it."