MINOCQUA - At this point in the season, the Lakeland Union track team is happy to drive more than 10 hours, if that means they can run outside.
"I feel we are ready, although we've kind of had a disadvantage having to run inside. But we've had an advantage running through the harsher weather," said Lakeland sophomore, Aubrey Anderson.
The team is about seven weeks into the season and still has not been able to run on an outdoor track. But that will change this weekend as seven of the distance runners will compete in the Kansas Relays at the University of Kansas.
"It's not just a high school meet, it's a college meet that they've invited high school athletes to," said head coach Kevin FitzPatrick.
Those seven were chosen because they were all state qualifiers last year. This will be Anderson's first time making the trip.
"I'm looking forward to running against hard competition and outside, for sure on an outdoor track," said Anderson.
The harder competition is mainly why the team likes to go. But top runner Kav FitzPatrick he has his eye on one specific event.
"I'm looking forward to the opportunity to steeplechase there," said Kav FitzPatrick.
The steeple chase is not a WIAA event, which makes that opportunity few and far between. But in true Kav FitzPatrick fashion, that's not the only event he wants to do well in. He'll also run the 800.
"I'm in the fast section so hopefully getting out there and running a fast time," said FitzPatrick.
The Great Northern Conference meet is only a month away. Being able to compete outside, no matter where, is a big advantage.
"We're using this as a jumping off point for the outdoor season and then hopefully to get them on the podium at the state track meet this June," said Kevin FitzPatrick.
Most of those seven runners chose to make the trip, even though it meant missing prom this weekend.