Dave Walsh: Track And Field Is Back Outdoors Where It’s At Its Best

Dave Walsh writes: “Like most, I prefer a clear day. It can be cool, but not freezing cold. I don’t mind bundling up a bit, but I don’t want to sit and shiver. I like the game to be played on a dry surface. Slipping and sliding on a slick surface can alter the game.”

DW
Dave Walsh

May 25, 20234 min read

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This Egyptian Cowboy can really fly.

His name is Kareem Mersal, and he is a long jumper on the University of Wyoming men’s track and field team.

Two days ago in Sacramento, California, at the NCAA West Track and Field First Rounds, Mersal pulled off a leap of 25 feet, 1.5 inches. The jump was good for 12th place and qualified him for the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

The top 12 finishers in each event move on to the national championships in Austin, Texas, from June 7-10.

Mersal is a junior from Cairo, Egypt, and he will be making his second consecutive appearance at the outdoor championships. Mersal earned second team All-American last season.

It’s a big accomplishment to earn a spot in the NCAA’s, and Mersal has now done it two years in a row. And he’s still just a junior.

It’ll be fun to keep track of Mersal’s efforts at the NCAA’s. This will be a gathering of college track and field’s very best. There will be some big jumps in this competition, and with all of those long leaps being posted, there should provide plenty of incentive for career bests.

Mersal is Wyoming’s best, and you can be sure we will more than likely see his best at the NCAA’s.

Another Cowboy competed in his first NCAA West Preliminary Meet on Wednesday. Cameron Burkett, a freshman from Casper, competed in the shot put. He took 39th place with a toss of 55 feet, 11.75 inches. That was the sixth best toss in program history.

Three other Cowboys will compete in the NCAA West Track and Field First Rounds in Sacramento on Friday.

Ryker Holtzen and Seth Bruxvoort will run, jump and get wet in the steeplechase. And Jacob White will race in the 5K.     

The NCAA regionals continue through Friday, and again, the top 12 finishers will move on to the NCAA championships.

I’ve got to say that I wouldn’t mind being in Austin, Texas, to take in the championships. I think track and field events are a blast. They are just plain fun to watch.

Watching a track meet, with all of the field events going on simultaneously, is like watching a three-ring circus.

There is just so much going on.

While a race is being run on the track, there will be a field event taking place on the infield. Baseball has its infield and so does track.

What a concept, and what a sport. There can be two events going on at the same time.

While the 800-meter run is taking place on the track, the shot put is happening on in the infield. The sprint events could be run while the javelin is being tossed.

Now, this is a sport that is competed both indoors and outdoors. And although the wooden indoor tracks are interesting, I prefer the outdoor version of track and field. It just seems that these races should be and outside.

When the shot put or javelin competition is taking place indoors in the infield, that makes me nervous. I like those events being staged outside the track with plenty of room to spare. I don’t want to see an errant shot or discuss nail an unsuspecting runner.

And even though I have taken in many indoor track and field events, I’ve never seen that happen. But it still makes me nervous.

 Football can be played indoors. So can baseball, and all other so-called outdoor sports, I suppose (OK, maybe not skiing).

The game of football, when played outdoors, can be affected by the elements. Whether it is rain, snow or wind, these conditions can have an impact on the game.

And I like that.

Football has always been an outdoor sport to me, and I like to see how players handle the environmental hazards that can pop-up. It can be difficult to watch a game in a snowstorm, but it is interesting to see how it affects play.

And again, I like seeing that version of a foul-weather game play out.

But only once in a while.

Like most, I prefer a clear day. It can be cool, but not freezing cold. I don’t mind bundling up a bit, but I don’t want to sit and shiver. I like the game to be played on a dry surface. Slipping and sliding on a slick surface can alter the game.

Track and field is the same. When the conditions are right, this is a great spectator sport.

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Dave Walsh

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