Across the country, High Schoolers who participate in a spring sport have been left dismayed after learning that COVID-19 will be taking away their 2020 season. The experience of athletes at Ridgewood High School has been no different. For multi-season athletes, the month or two between the winter and spring season is an exciting time in anticipation for the season ahead. And for single-season athletes, the spring season is a highly anticipated and pleasant way to spend the last few months of the school year. Yet the initial uncertainty of the spring season left many of our athletes with mixed feelings of the season. Then with the official canceling of the spring season back in May, it left them searching for the positive during this unprecedented time.
For spring track runners, the impacts of COVID-19 came early on as those invited learned that the Arcadia Invitational had been canceled. As time passed, it became difficult watching the dates of some meets, fond in athletes’ memories, come and pass. Things became more challenging when the distance track coaches decided to use this time to increase mileage and to just do base training. The task of consistent 60 mile weeks is difficult on its own and each runner having to do it alone has made the task more difficult. However, some have decided to look on the bright side.
Camryn Wennersten, a nationally esteemed runner coming off the winter season with a 4:51.60 mile personal record had found the positive in extra training time, “Even though we didn’t get to see our potential in races this spring season, it gave me time to reflect and think about my goals and how I’m going to make myself better for future races. I found a way to turn something negative into a positive, but I can’t wait to get back to training with the team.” Wennersten is not alone in her thinking as Lucia Rabolli, another year-round runner exiting the winter track season with a string of personal records including a 2:21.88 in the 800m, says, “Although we were really looking forward to a spring season, we have made the best out of the situation by training for the cross country season in the fall.” Initially, these runners did find difficulty in adjusting to running individually in a sport that is so team-based. As Olivia Shattuck puts it, a distance runner who finished top 20 in the 3200m race at the State Meet of Champions this winter, says, “It is bad running solo and without a team, but we need to be positive because we cannot change it.”
However, track athletes may be the least impacted by COVID-19 because sports such as cross country and track have been labeled as “minimal risk sports.” As put by Annamarie Tretola, another year round runner who finished 14th in the 1600m at the State Meet of Champions this past winter, “It was definitely weird at first because it was something we never experienced since now we couldn’t run with each other. However, our sport wasn’t as affected as other sports because we can still run alone. But hopefully we can still run cross country so all of our training now pays off.”
Graphic: Jasmine Parpel