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Wildcats share gameday preparation rituals

Ryan Grady

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Michael Kicenski, member of the men’s track team. Photo courtesy of Chico State.

 

Gameday preparation can determine if athletes hurdle their way over the competition or get hit in the head with a bat.

Keeping the energy up throughout the day is most important, said Michael Kicenski, a junior who competes in the high jump for the Chico State track and field team.

“The day starts early — I’m usually getting on the bus to travel at 6 a.m. — so I need to be motivated,” Kicenski said. “I like to get a 5-Hour Energy drink to get me going.”

The most important part of preparation for junior pitcher Robert Engelsinvolves the first meal of the day .

 

“No matter what time I play, I always make sure to have a good breakfast,” Engels said. “It is that important.”

Nutrition is a major factor of an athlete’s preparation, especially prior to game time. Stomach issues or cramps can plague the day if an athlete doesn’t eat properly.

“I never eat heavy on days that I high jump, but I constantly eat something to fuel my body,” Kicenski said. “I always bring snacks.”

Athletes must wait until it’s their time to compete during the variety of events in track and field. Staying focused and energized are key when preparing for an event.

 

“Some days I have sat around until 4 p.m. until my event was up,” Kicenski said. “I’m always making sure I am full of energy and pumped up. Having good music is very important to me.”

Music can pump up or relax athletes, getting them ready for their individual events. Engels said his go-to song last year was “Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe” by Kendrick Lamar.

Staying well-rested and fresh for gameday is also important, Kicenski said.

“I make sure to keep my legs fresh for a few days before,” Kicenski said. “I stick to a warm-up and light training only.”

For Engels, keeping his arm and legs rested is necessary. As a pitcher, he must use his legs just as much as his throwing arm to strike out hitters.

“I don’t do any lifting or running the day before or the day of my start,” Engels said. “I want to make sure I am at my best.”

 

Ryan Grady can be reached at [email protected] or @RyanGrady23 on Twitter.

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Wildcats share gameday preparation rituals