ARLINGTON, Texas -- The differences between the indoor and outdoor track and field seasons are many, but for UTA, the importance is the same, and the teams' primary agendas remain--contend for Sun Belt Conference titles.
Head coach John Sauerhage's record speaks to that fact. During his tenure, the men's 12 conference titles are split evenly between indoor and outdoor crowns. The women have claimed 10 league track championships, with six coming in indoor seasons.
He is optimistic about his squads after the Mavericks' opening indoor meet two weeks ago. Last year, the UTA men won the Sun Belt indoor title, while the women finished as the runner up.
"We feel as though we have strong teams that can compete in the league meets in both February and May," Sauerhage said. "Obviously we will score more points in some events than in others, but the goal is always to have a chance to score in each event area. We like the depth and versatility on our rosters."
Among the notable differences is that the indoor season is much shorter, typically running from mid-January through February. The outdoor season is approximately twice as long, spanning from mid-March through May, with the NCAA Championships slated for June.
There are also fewer events at each meet in indoor track and field. That means that the SBC Indoor Championships (Feb. 19-20) are contested in one fewer day than the outdoor meet (May 11-13).
The track itself is another major change, as most indoor tracks are 200 meters, whereas outdoor is run on 400m ovals. Therefore, athletes have to run more corners and deal with tighter turns indoors than they do outdoors. Typically, that leads to times being slightly slower.
For instance, Taylor Davis is the women's all-time record holder in the outdoor 400 meters (54.04). Indoor, she ranks second in the event with a time of 54.70, just behind the all-time mark of 54.59. Likewise, Michael Guerrero's top outdoor 5000m time is 14:21.86, exactly nine seconds faster than his indoor clocking (14:30.86).
Due to the much smaller size of the facility, many of the races are shorter distances as well. Sprinters run the 60-meter dash indoors, compared to the 100m outdoor, and the same goes with the hurdles. In addition, the longest indoor race is just 5,000 meters, as compared to the 10,000m.
Field events are also affected. There's no room to throw a javelin, discus or hammer, so the indoor throws are the shot put and weight throw. For the men, the outdoor decathlon becomes just seven events (heptathlon), while the women compete in the heptathlon outdoors and the pentathlon (five events) indoors.
The programs may not have an indoor competition track on campus, but that doesn't slow down UTA, which uses Maverick Stadium to train all year. Last week's frigid temperatures didn't slow the Mavericks, who headed indoors to work out inside College Park Center.
The Mavs will test their training Saturday at the second indoor meet of the season, the Texas Tech Classic. UTA will be competing against a trio of Big 12 Conference schools--Texas Tech, Texas and Oklahoma--as well as Abilene Christian, Incarnate Word, Louisiana Tech, North Texas, Sam Houston State, ULM and UTEP.
Field events begin at 9:30 a.m., while running preliminaries commence at noon and finals start at 1 p.m. Live results will be available here. Live video is available by purchasing a daily pass on TexasTech.com for $6.95.
T&F: Mavs set for SBC Indoor Championships
T&F: Martinsson named SBC track athlete of week
Texas Trust Scholar-Athlete of the Week
T&F: UTA wraps up regular season on high note
T&F: Top marks come from UTA on day one
XC: Cross country teams earn All-Academic awards