The Armory Trials, scheduled to take place on Oct. 3 at the Armory New Balance Track & Field Center in Washington Heights, have been organized to help talented high school track and field athletes with the college recruitment process. With spring and fall sports largely cancelled or postponed due to COVID-19, they haven’t been getting the exposure needed to garner interest from college programs.
“All these seniors, the last time they got a verified mark was last indoor season,” said Jonathan Schindel, co-president of The Armory Foundation. “Track and swimming are sports where a college coach can look at a verified mark and know how good you are.
“Here in New York, so many of the students haven’t had a chance in track to set a good mark,” he added. “It puts our kids at a disadvantage to get into colleges…Clearly, there are a limited number of scholarships, so we want to give the students a chance to set a mark…that would be helpful to them in the college process.”
The Armory Trials will officially clock runners with its state-of-the-art timing system used for all its meets. Student-athletes will run on either the Armory’s 200-meter banked track or on the infield. The events to be held are 55-meter, 55m hurdles, 200m, 400m and 800m. The field events will be the long jump, triple jump, shot put and weight throw.
“We will put in place social distancing and health precautions,” said Schindel. “We have the luxury of having time and spreading it out.”
There will be no spectators. Strict protocols will be followed. Student-athletes will arrive at appointed times and depart shortly after their events. Anything touched will be sanitized between competitors. Everyone will be required to wear masks, except when competing. There will be an EMT on site in case there are any injuries.
Over the course of an approximately 10-hour day, Schindel anticipates a few hundred kids. There is so much demand that a second date has been added on Oct. 10. “It’s not a track meet; there are no winners,” said Schindel. “We’re keeping as few people in the building as possible and yet trying to help as many kids as possible.”
The high school student-athletes will be primarily from New York and New Jersey. No one from quarantined states will be allowed. Going forward, Schindel said the Armory is open-minded in terms of holding track meets and will stay informed on the latest medical information.