BY RYAN SCHUETTE
For most soccer players, the sight of snowfall is welcomed as a little bit of a break from all of the running they do. But for Ballston Spa soccer and track star Alex Kambourelis it is just the beginning.
Indoor track is something Kambourelis has been doing since she was in eighth grade. Known as a sprinter and relay specialist, she has been setting records since she stepped into high school.
“I now hold records for the 45-meter dash, 55-meter dash, 100-meter dash, the 4 x 100-meter relay and 4 x 200-meter relay,” said Kambourelis, “but it took me awhile to get there. I have progressed slowly throughout my high school career. It was a long road to get here.”
Indoor track is much different from outdoor. For one thing the monster 400-meter outdoor tracks that stretch all the way around a football field are non-existent in indoor. The indoor tracks are only 200 meters; therefore the distances the sprinters in particular have to run are extremely different. “Even the shoes are different,” Kambourelis said. “In indoor runners are only allowed to wear rubber bottomed shoes, or ‘waffles’ some people call them. In outdoor runners wear spikes, where 1/4-inch metal spikes are screwed into the bottom of the shoe, helping runners to stay on their toes.”
Her knowledge about the sport may be one of the reasons her coaches named Kambourelis a captain this year. “I think I was named captain because of my experience on varsity,” she said. “I think the coaches know about my work ethic and how well I communicate with my team members.”
Training for indoor is also much harder than training for outdoor; runners have more room to accomplish things when the go outside because of all of the space. With indoor, they have to share already limited hall space with wrestlers, weightlifters, the swim team waiting to get into the pool, and the students who stay after for classes.
Another big factor is the actual floor the athletes run on. “The surface is definitely not the best to run on,” Kambourelis said. “A lot of runners get shin splints from the constant pounding on the concrete floor. Also sprinters especially aren’t very good at slowing down if someone gets in the way.”
Kambourelis found that out the hard way in her freshman year of high school. The team was sprinting through the halls for time trials when she encountered a slight turn. When she rounded the turn she found herself just feet away from a bystander. She tried to stop but it was too late. The collision that followed earned her the nickname “Pain Train” from her teammates. “That was very embarrassing, but I did try to stop!” Kambourelis said. “Nobody got seriously hurt though, so that’s what really matters.”
Despite all her impressive accomplishments, there is one that really stands out for Kambourelis. “I still think the greatest thing that I have done is to come back from my ACL surgery and proceed to break the 45-meter dash record my first meet back,” she said. “It felt so good.”
As the season winds to a close and the more important meets start to come up, Kambourelis and the Scotties indoor track team remain very focused. “I think I am looked to as a leader, but there are a lot of talented runners on our team that work just as hard or even harder than I do,” Kambourelis said. “It is a collective effort.” Regardless of her modesty, there is no doubt the team will be looking to ride the “Pain Train” into the post season.