Beginning later than anticipated, the outdoor track season started on May 17th this year. Right off the bat, older students like junior Marcos Ruiz Ramos could feel “a very different vibe from last year,” mainly since they had “lost a lot of seniors.”
Many students have seemed to be enjoying the season so far. Senior Fabrice Brudent stated that though there have been a few “ups and downs...overall [it’s been] pretty good.”
Luckily for the team, not many precautions are in place as opposed to previous sports played this year. As Coach David Germain mentioned, “the MIAA dropped its mask mandate.” This left many students like Ramos relieved as he had thought “[he’d] have to run with a mask.” However, students do have to take part in pool testing every Tuesday, and as Brudent added, fill out a survey in an “app called Sway, [as a form of] pre-screening.”
A major difference noticeable to the coaches is the number of students participating. According to Germain, in previous years they are “used to having 40-50 kids per team (boys & girls).” But of course, the decrease in students has led to the coaches being “able to have close relationships with their athletes,” compared to previous years.
Jackson Gordon, a freshman experiencing track for the “first time [is] really enjoying it.” He expressed that though not many COVID-19 precautions are currently in place, they all had to watch out for “who [they are] around because if [one of them catches] COVID-19, the whole team has to be out.” However, Ramos believes that because “[they’ve] progressed and [they] have vaccines [...] it’s becoming a lot easier to do track.”
Overall, all the students seem to be enjoying their time on the track team. Ramos noted that “track is one of those sports where you can see yourself progressing and when you do, you become a lot happier because you see results.” Rodrigo Oliveira mentioned that this was in fact true, as he is currently “enjoying seeing [his] progress rise up and noticing a difference in [his] speed.”
Due to the lack of students on the team, and opposing teams in the league, track meets have become a lot shorter. They have even had to “scratch entire events because neither team [had] a kid to participate,” Germain said. Big weekend invitationals had been canceled this year, making students feel a “false sense of accomplishment throughout the season.”
Invitationals allowed the students to feel more humbled and to see how they truly compared aside the top athletes in Massachusetts, in their designated events. Coach Germain feels that it is their responsibility to remind the students that “just because they're doing well in the league doesn't mean that they're top in the state, so they have to keep working to get to that point.”
Ramos said “[track] is a very fun sport to do, especially with people you like.” Moving forward the students are working hard to improve and enjoy their time on the track team. During their time, they are forming strong relationships amongst themselves that makes what would be a difficult situation just a little more enjoyable.