Winter track has debuted this year as a brand new sport at the regional high school. The head coach for the winter track team is longtime track and cross-country coach Joe Schroeder, and the squad is fielding about 25 student-athletes for its first go-around.

“These kids at this point are all dedicated to track; there isn’t anyone out here that isn’t coming out for the spring,” said assistant coach Joel Graves. You have to be dedicated to participate in winter track (or indoor track as it is more commonly known), as it is the only sport in high school history to be practiced outside during the winter season. Yes, you read that right, the indoor track team practices outdoors.

“We go out there in the sleet, in zero degrees, we pretty much practice in everything,” said junior Nate D’Angelo.

“It’s not so bad once you get exercising, though,” said junior Finn Norton.

“It’s not like we sit there and complain the whole time — we get done what we need to,” said junior Tom Irwin.

“We are all stepping out of our comfort zone just because there is a need for it, we get to try things we wouldn’t in the spring just because there aren’t as many bodies,” said senior Evan Krystal.

“Everyone out here is doing this for the love of the sport, we as coaches are volunteers, and the students are out here purely to get better,” said Coach Graves. He added: “While wins and losses do matter to us, they aren’t as important this year as making sure our athletes develop so that they can compete at their highest level until May . . . Having an undermanned squad does come with its own set of challenges, but we love having a small group, it’s easier for us to coach and it’s better for our athletes because it allows them to work that much harder and participate more than they are used to.”

And an enticing reason to join the team this year is there are records to be set in every category. “Since this is our first year ever doing this sport at MVRHS, whatever time or distance anyone places in the first meet on Monday will be a record-setter, which also had some draw to it along with getting ready for the season in the spring,” Coach Graves said.

All the meets this year take place at Wheaton College where every school in the south region will converge for every meet, but unlike in an invitational meet where you are competing against everyone there, the individual meet is where you are only competing against the school you are matched up with that day. “It all comes down to a numbers game,” Coach Graves said. “If we are playing (Bishop) Feehan, and in the 400-metre, we come in second to last, as long as the last place is the kid from Feehan, we actually won the race. That’s why we aren’t looking for wins and losses this season, because it boils down to a numbers game . . . we just ultimately want to see our athletes get better as the season progresses.”

Sophomore Juniper Ezanno echoed the theme. “I would say to a person thinking about doing it that it is a big commitment, but nothing like hockey or basketball, and it’s a great way to stay in shape and be active and set records while doing it,” Ezanno said.

The first official meet for the winter track team is against West Bridgewater this Monday, Dec. 15, at Wheaton College. They are off to a great start.