Coming off of a seven week break, the men and women’s track teams will compete in the Samford Invitational in Birmingham, Ala., this weekend. The last team event was held in early December, so both teams spent their first week of practices to get back into a routine. Sophomore Luke Govero and Senior Kiana Grant are two key members of the Choctaw teams. Govero competes in the multi-event, while Grant specializes in long jump, triple jump, and long sprints.
Both the men and women’s teams train and condition together, but practices are divided by event. Jumpers from both teams will have run-through practices where the athletes focus on technical details such as take off, landing, and form. The runners then meet up to train together for their specific events.
Grant explained that each member was sent a workout to follow over the break in order to keep up an active routine. She said, “It’s difficult to come back after a break, but there’s nothing like practicing with a coach and your team. When you’re alone it’s kind of hard to motivate yourself.”
Govero competes in the decathlon which consists of events like the 100 meter dash, 400 meter dash, hurdles, pole vaulting, discus, and other field events. He says he doesn’t have a favorite, but “discus and javelin are really fun, and I’ve grown to like the pole vault.” Most of his time is spent practicing alone, but he enjoys getting to spend time with his teammates at group practices and on road trips to each meet.
Grant says that as meets get closer, their practices get lighter and more technical. She enjoys forming relationships with her teammates as well. As a senior, she finds ways to connect with the younger members on the team. “I see myself as a motivator and a friend.”
Preparation for each meet looks the same for Govero and Grant: lots of mental preparation. For Govero, each event in the decathlon is one after another so he tries to “not get too focused on each event but be prepared for the event as a whole.” Grant goes through a really long warm up on meet days but says “mental preparation is key.” Listening to music is her go-to option for staying focused. Both Govero and Grant have goals they want to achieve going into the rest of the spring season. Grant is still recovering from a summer surgery but hopes to have a great last season. Her goal is to improve on her current marks and defend her position on the team. Govero said he wants to continue to do his best this season and “qualify for nationals, both indoor and outdoor.”