Our 2019 Simplot Games athletes have arrived in Pocatello, Idaho, in great spirit ahead of the largest indoor Track and Field event for High School students in the States.
After a 14 hour flight from Melbourne to Los Angeles, the teams connecting plane to Utah was delayed due to the icy conditions being experienced in America. The team spent a day in Salt Lake City, the home of the 2002 Winter Olympics, training at the University of UTAH, before making their way up the highway to Pocatello, Idaho, and the home of the Simplot Games, the Idaho State University’s Holt Arena.
200m Runner Matt Payne spoke about training at altitude for the first time. “ It’s so hard to breath, you really have to work hard on your recovery breaths and make sure you take in as much air as you can. The weather is amazing up here, it’s so cold outside and it hasn’t stopped snowing since we arrived which is great.”
Distance runner Bianca Puglisi who along with Abigail Thomas will start of Maribyrnong’s campaign on Friday afternoon with the 1600m heats says she is so excited to be back and running on the indoor track. “ It’s freezing outside, so coming into the stadium to train has been great, because it’s so much warmer in here.” Bianca competed in the 3200m event last year and says she is looking forward to the challenge of the one mile run. “ I haven’t done the 1600 before, I’m really excited to try a new event and to do it here at the Simplot games will be amazing.” Abigail also says she is looking forward to her first competitive run on a sprung wooden indoor track. “I’ve never ever run a mile even back at home. I’m loving running on the wooden track. It’s so bouncy and nice.”
Sprinters Georgia Muller and Kelera Ratu say they are also so excited to be in Pocatello. “ The track is really good. It so bouncy and light. It’s a noisy track but I don’t think that will bother me during the race because I am able to block that stuff out during a race normally. Being in such a big stadium is like foreign to me, and while it’s sort of scary it’s also like really exciting at the same time.” says 400m runner Georgia who is at the games for the first time.” Meanwhile Kelera is at her second Simplot Games, “ Having been here before I can say the noise is nerve racking on the day cos there is heaps of people, but when you're running you really don’t pay any attention to it, you just focus on your race.” Both girls will be competing in the 400m event, something they have been doing since they were 9 years old.
Ella Nickolaus who is also at her second Simplot Games is competing in the 200m and says it’s great to be back, “ I pretty excited and confident and really looking forward to what’s to come in the next few days. I’m feeling good about my race but am a little nervous about the bends as I didn’t run them last year, so that’s new for me. I’m in lane 4 for my heats so I’m happy about that as it’s in the middle of the tack. Racing against the older girls can be intimidating but it’s a great challenge for me to see where I am at in this event. I’m finding it harder to deal with the altitude this year, having just done training it so much harder to get your breath back, you can definitely notice the change but I’m coping ok with it. I would really like to thank my parents and coach for getting me ready for this and also Simplot Australia who have helped to make it all happen.
Competition in the Simplot Games runs for 3 days starting with the heats of the 1600m and 3200m on Friday Afternoon.