After waiting much of the year due to COVID-19, the much anticipated Outdoor Track Season started on May 17th. Though it started late, team spirit has not been lacking and students are enjoying it including freshman Sami Jeudy who said that it has been “very fun, but tiring.” Alexandra Rodrigues, another freshman on the team, mentioned that “it [has] been great.”
Some older students have noticed the difference in their speed due to the amount of time between the last season, including junior Leslie Rodriguez who added that “[she is] a little slower than before, but [she keeps] setting records for [herself].” Other students like junior Alyson Kwong, mentioned that there was a very “different atmosphere,” from the year before, with “a bunch of new faces as well.”
Because of the visible new atmosphere, there is a very obvious difference from last year. Coach Michel-L’e Meranda added that the thing she misses most about track pre-COVID was the competition because “[they have] lost a lot of athletes because of safety precautions and other sports.” Meranda noted that the meets seemed more like scrimmages as there “[was not] much depth on our team or teams [they competed] against.” But despite this, she is happy to see that “[their] athletes cheer each other on and motivate each other in practice and at track meets.”
Despite the team being smaller than usual, Meranda thinks that “students are really getting to know one another, but also the coaches.” And that since there are not any cliques within the once large team, it has created a space where students who do not know each other are now interacting with one another and making new friends. Rodriguez added that all together “[they are] a big family.”
COVID-19 circumstances that had seemed to have limited so many sports this year, have not taken much of a toll on track. Because as Meranda said “with vaccines becoming available to staff and students right as the season began,” and COVID restrictions seeming to lighten or disappear it has been easier on the students as Victoria Gammon stated, “[they] do not have to wear a mask when [they] race anymore.”
Though the students do not have to wear masks while racing or on the fields, they still need to “social distance when [they are] running,” as Rodriguez said, and need to get tested every Tuesday. In addition, they need to fill out a survey on an app called SWAY that allows coaches to see if students have any sort of COVID-19 symptoms.
Although track is not an easy sport, students like Elina Yang, sees it as a sport where they “basically [try] again and again until [they] get to [their] best level.” Throughout those times the coaches tried to make it as enjoyable as possible, as Meranda said “[they] like to have fun no matter the circumstances,” and at times someone “will bring speakers and play music from a playlist and [they] just start singing and dancing,” all together.
Thankfully even with COVID-19 still lurking behind them, students like Rodrigues seem “really happy like they are having fun.” Kwong also seems to sense that “the team energy is definitely there.”