After failing to clinch the title last UAAP Season 79, wherein the men’s and women’s teams finished third and fourth, respectively, both squads are looking to improve on their last year’s run. This season, both teams aim to continue building on their recent success. As The LaSallian sat down with Shaira Hernandez, the team captain of the women’s team, and Ronald Malate, a veteran of the men’s team, they share the team’s preparations and thoughts coming into Season 80.
Rising above the challenges
The offseason has been a long and challenging time for both teams as Hernandez explains the nine-month training they went through, having to come back right after Season 79 with only a few months of rest. “We trained since June ata yun. Short break lang after post-season competition, we trained na since June until now.” In addition to their regular trainings, the team participated in the PATAFA (Philippine Amateur Track and Field Association), which are weekly relays from August to November to help them prepare for the UAAP.
However, both the men and women faced difficulties throughout the preseason due to the lack of venues for training. Having no chance to train in the Rizal Memorial Stadium and having limited opportunities to train in the PhilSports Arena was a challenge the Tracksters had to rise above from. At the same time, having no full track oval in the Razon Sports Center, the team had difficulties preparing for the real tournament in February.
On top of the lack of venue, both teams struggled with the fact that they were short of players this season. “Biggest issue namin siguro is kulang na kulang kami sa athletes. For example, yung women’s team ng FEU, parang combined na namin–yung boys and girls.” Malate comments on the team’s insufficient players. With the tournament based on a point system, the Green-and-White athletes have no choice but to participate in other events to compensate for the deficit of players on La Salle.
Despite all this, Hernandez assures the Lasallian community that the team is prepared and confident coming into the UAAP and is looking forward to a quality performance from the team despite all the issues it has faced, “We know na kulang kami as athletes—sa entries, but then we’re looking forward to a quality performance, not quantity. Kasi wala na kaming panglaban diyan eh. And I know each of them is ready to do their best to reach their goals individually and as a team.”
Adjusting to new training styles
Since the conclusion of Season 79, the Tracksters gained a new training style from their coach in preparation for Season 80. The change of training styles can be a problem for some players, especially for the athletes who have been following the same routines for years now, but the players have adjusted. Along with this, some of the Lasallian athletes were given the opportunity to train with the National Team, which may be advantageous for them as it may aid the team in the tournament.
Hernandez expresses that their coach adopted some new training styles from the National Team into their own practices to be able to help the other Tracksters too. “Some were given the opportunity to train with the National Team and knowing the fact that iba yung training nila, nag-adjust talaga sila so technically yung mga trainings sa oval iba, training schedule also sometimes they train later than usual,” she says.
The women’s captain further mentions the application of Reverse Pyramid Training, which is entirely new to them. This, and the other newly adopted training styles, has the Lasallians optimistic that this season will be a success.
The team from Taft has gone through a lot of changes this past year but despite the deficiency of players and the struggle of finding a training venue, the Tracksters aim to push hard in order to finish in a better placing than they did last year.