Track and field team resumes competition amidst COVID protocols

Senior+Nate+Lathrop+runs+in+meet+last+season.

Mike McGrath

Senior Nate Lathrop runs in meet last season.

John Gigian and Jacey Hinton , Sports editor and Staff Writer

After nearly a year off the track due to the effects of COVID-19, the WHS track and field team has resumed competition this winter for the indoor track season. Despite the loss of seventeen seniors, the team hopes to continue the success of recent years, having won multiple state championships.

“It definitely feels like a relief coming after such a long period with no racing,” senior Nate Lathrop said. “I think the last time I had raced on the track was over a year ago at this point, and since this is my senior year track season, I wanted to finish it off well. Originally, we didn’t think it was going to happen, but after hearing the news that we were cleared to race, it only gave me more motivation to train.”

With the long layoff, the athletes have needed to adjust to the new season, and coach John Monz explained how the team has done to get back in competition shape. 

Lots of our athletes have not participated in a sport since early November, or if they didn’t play a fall sport, last winter,” Monz said. “We need to do a lot of basic fitness work before we can get to very much track & field training. Fundamental drills, calisthenics, basic body-weight strength work is more important than usual.”

Although many students have experienced excitement of the new season, there also comes the reality of the losses and modifications. 

“It has been tough to have the team together, or even really know what the team was going to look like before the first day of practice,” senior Nick Dahl said. “This creates some problems with practices, and just the facilities we have to work with in gearing ourselves up for meets.” 

The pandemic has impacted not just preparation, but the season itself. 

“Covid has impacted our season by not allowing us to compete against certain teams we normally would, racing at the indoor tracks, and competing at the normal time in the winter that it would be at,” senior Chloe Ramos said. “Now we are having our meets outdoors so that we can maintain social distance.” 

Aside from the COVID-19 changes, the team will need to replace key contributors from last season. 

“It is definitely going to be hard to replace some of the standout seniors from last year, especially because a few of them were national caliber runners,” Lathrop said. “It will be tough, but we should be able to fill those in with more individual points from our jumping and sprinting events.” 

With all the changes in the social distancing guidelines and new personnel, Monz explained how the outlook for this season has differed. 

We are less worried about everyday attendance and competitive results, and more worried about giving students an outlet and a chance to do a healthy, fun, outdoor activity each day,” Monz said. “Social and emotional well-being takes a larger role alongside physical fitness this year.”

Despite the setbacks the team is dealing with this season, they have attempted to stay united as a team. 

“I think the drive to compete and to get better is always going to keep morale up,” Dahl said. “However within the team, everyone has teammates that are supporting each other through everything, and that team dynamic really brings the best out of everyone.” 

Senior Nate Lathrop runs in meet last season. (Mike McGrath )