Indoor vs. Outdoor Track

How the sports are changing
Former Lancaster athlete Colton Thress(left) out leans competitor to win the 4x8 National Championship in New York City at the 2023 Nike Indoor Nationals Meet.
Former Lancaster athlete Colton Thress(left) out leans competitor to win the 4×8 National Championship in New York City at the 2023 Nike Indoor Nationals Meet.

Currently one of the biggest questions in the track world is will indoor track be considered a sport in Ohio in the near future? Indoor track is not considered a fully sanctioned sport in Ohio while outdoor is. Some track and field experts weighed in on how indoor track is evolving.

Ohio Milesplits Metro Editor and one of their photographers David Nguyen believes indoor track is on the brink of transitioning to a sport.

¨Yes, I do believe that indoor track will be considered as a fully sanctioned sport in the near future, give or take 5-10 years,¨ Nguyen said.

Nguyen getting ready to capture shots at an outdoor track meet. Photo courtesy of Nguyen.

TruSpeed Athletics Track Club is a program out of Southwest Ohio. Clubs like TruSpeed give high school athletes the chance to train outside their high school. Head Coach Ty grew up playing basketball, which is also a winter sport. So even if a high school athlete does outdoor track, indoor might be out of the equation for kids doing other winter sports.
¨I believe it’s 50/50 honestly. It’s not really sanctioned anywhere likely because everyone can’t do indoor so some of the state titles would seem meaningless if everyone isn’t competing. If it was sanctioned I believe it could risk injury and unneeded pressure to athletes before outdoor season,¨ Ty said.

The difference between indoor and outdoor track might seem self-explanatory. One sport takes place inside and one sport takes place outside. Although this is true and the two sports share many similarities, they also have major differences. The Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) does not sponsor tournament competition in indoor track and field (OHSAA Track & Field Manual). Despite this, many schools sponsor indoor track competitions, including Lancaster High School.

Ohio Milesplit has a whole team that covers indoor track, outdoor track, and cross country in the Buckeye state. highlights the results, rankings, and posts pictures of the athletes in action. Nguyen brought light to the positive moments indoor track in Ohio provides.

¨I believe that despite it not being fully sanctioned, it is good that the indoor season is big in this state given that there is a state championship and opportunities to go to nationals among other invitationals inside and outside Ohio borders,¨ Nguyen said.

A current NCAA college athlete for Tiffin University in Ohio, Charles Guigon has multiple years of experience running both indoor and outdoor track. Guigon grew up in France and has also run for American International College in the U.S. He discussed one of the major differences between the two sports, which is the air quality indoors compared to outdoors.

Guigon competed in an indoor college meet. Photo courtesy of Guigon.

¨The fact that you have to adapt to the dry air in the indoor track. The advantage of the indoor track is that there’s no wind and the temperature is ideal for running,¨ Guigon said.

Guigon pointed out the other big difference which is the track length.

¨Secondly, I think it’s important to talk about the length of the track, as this has an impact on race strategy: it’s better to be at the front of the race to win (First 5 spot). Indeed, it’s hard to overtake people. The length of the track has an impact on my crowd, as I have to use more frequency than I’m used to on an outdoor track.¨

Kateri Sherman is a junior pole vaulter at Fort Loramie High School in Ohio. She has been competing in both indoor and outdoor track her whole high school career. She is also a photographer for OH milesplit, but also has her own brand Kateri Sherman Photography. Sherman’s school does not offer an indoor track team so she vaults with a club team.

¨So for indoor, I am able to stay as late as I want, or leave as soon as my event is done. With not having a team, I feel that indoor is more about me. I am not competing for an invite spot. I am not letting a team score down. I am just competing against myself and trying to make myself better. In outdoor, the team is taken into account and can put a lot more pressure on the athletes, but in indoor, how I do will not affect how my team does,¨ Sherman said.

There has been a debate on what sport is better: indoor or outdoor track. Sherman is on team indoor when it comes to her personal performance but on team outdoor when it comes to her team.

LHS track  members from 2023. Edwards (right) is a current freshman on The Ohio State University track team. Lang (left) is a current freshman at Youngstown State University. Photo courtesy of Kateri Sherman Photography.

¨Overall, I prefer indoor when it comes to me competing, but I prefer outdoor when it comes to watching my teammates and others competing. Indoor makes me less stressed and lets me know where I stand coming into the season. Outdoor is when athletes are peaking and you get to see history take place. Both are great, but in their own ways. And I think that is what is beautiful about having two different seasons of one sport,¨ Sherman stated.

Sherman has had the chance to capture many of the highest-level performances in Ohio track. Sherman snapped shots of the 2023 pole vault division 1 state champion Dan Edwards as well as the third-place finisher Lukas Lang. Both athletes attended LHS and have continued their track careers in college.

¨Working with MileSplit allows me to cheer on my teammates from a different angle. I get access to the infield at all meets– including state! This alone creates amazing memories because I get to help my teammates compete to the best of their abilities and also capture it while they are doing so. My favorite pictures I get from track are definitely the athlete’s reactions at the end of a race. I love seeing them crossing the finish line holding a #1 up or giving the rest of their relay a huge hug,¨ Sherman stated.

All four interviewees have captured or seen some amazing moments happen on the track. Nguyen’s favorite memory of outdoor track is when he got to witness his close friend Delaney Dumm win the Mileand TwoMile title at Adidas Outdoor Nationals in 2023 to finish out her high school career. Nguyen was taking pictures at the meet that day, but he got someone to cover for him during Dumm’s races so he could witness his friend achieve an amazing feat.

Zane Schorr handing off to Wes Taylor in the 4×4 relay at the 2024 OCC Indoor Championships.

¨I remember telling my partner that day I needed to go watch this race from my phone so she took over for a little bit for those few minutes. This was the first time I had been anxious for a race that wasn’t my own; the feeling of watching her cross that finish line for gold was something I hadn’t ever felt in the past watching someone else’s race,¨ Nguyen expressed.

Being a coach and witnessing your own athlete break a record has to be a surreal feeling. Coach Ty lived that moment.

¨Favorite indoor memory would possibly be seeing a former athlete of mine Mackenzie Hartman break the D2/D3 state record with an 8.52 time in the 60-meter hurdles,¨ Ty said.

You can check out David Nguyen’s hard work on Ohio Milesplits website and on Instagram. The same with Kateri Sherman on OH Milesplit and her Instagram @katerishermanphotography. For some self-development and motivation check out Charles Guigon Instagram page @charles_longwy. Finally, if you are interested in competing in track for a club team, Coach Ty and @truspeedathletics could give you an amazing opportunity.

More to Discover