This year, Middle School Track and Field athletes were surprised to hear that their practices will be taking place in the mornings at 7:00 AM before some students are even awake. For some, the schedule didn’t seem so bad, but for others, it was more noticeable. “I’m still looking forward to it [Track and Field], but probably less than I would’ve been,” says 8th grader Lucy Johnson, new to Track and Field. “I think it’ll be less hot, so that’s something I guess.” Most students found themselves displeased with the new deal.
The new practice starts at 7:00, and students should start arriving at 6:50. For some that live far away, the practice schedule means a very different wake-up time. The practice lasts 40 minutes, ending with plenty of time for students to head off to study hall. Each student has to sign up for the practice slots each week because each coach can only have 16 students, maximum. The program still has a plan for Track meets, but details have yet to be announced about exactly what to expect. The Zoom meeting on February 22 with the coaches will have more information.
The varsity team for the High School, which is also practicing on the track, stays there in the afternoon, causing the earlier practice for the Middle School. To avoid being in close contact with the Varsity Team, they have practice in the afternoons. “Varsity and Middle School can’t mix, and both of those teams are so big, it would be really tough to have them both at the track,” says Coach Notestine. The new situation is for the safety of the students. “It would be really tough to contact trace, and to do all that sort of thing,” she adds.
This is the first time the Middle School will practice in the morning, and it will change the routine. As both the athletes and the coaches are groggier—and the mornings colder—the warmups will have to be different. Coach Notestine pointed out that the practice is only 60% of its usual length, meaning she and the other coaches have to focus on the most important things for each athlete. Coach Notestine reminds the students that the better their social distance, the easier everything will be. “If people continue to stay safe, wash their hands, stay six feet apart, keep their mask on, then we can hopefully keep it going,” reminds the coach.
With the uncertainty about the meets and the changes to practice times, it is sure to be a season with unexpected twists and turns. However, both the coaches and the students seem to be ready to adapt to the new circumstances. Covid-19 has really changed the situation at hand, and this sport will certainly be different this year. For one, the athletes wear masks. Although there are meets, there is still a possibility of cancellation. But although the circumstances are different, the fact remains that we are lucky to have sports at all. If all social distancing continues, so can social activities. “It’s a new normal, and we want people to participate in athletics and clubs, and we know that’s important and we want to keep that going as long as possible,” says Coach Notestine. If we continue to distance ourselves, we can keep some sense of normalcy. She only asks that the athletes stay apart and stay aware.