Distance Track Keeps Pushing


photo courtesy of Kalista Roades

Before the stay home order, the boys’ and girls’ distance track team at Creve Coeur park after a run. Justin Prater, Kai Mills, Connor Lorino, Joey Mackenbeurg, Caleb Simpkins, Joshua Killian, Jessel Prabhu, Bryant Ewing, Kalista Roades, Abby Hachmeister, Alyssha Hinga, Drake Ives, Ruth McCarron, Chandler Fajardo, Tajh Martin, Keilah Wilkes, Kaleb Wold, Cordelia Hautekeete, Lucy Ndungu, Athena Housley

Rebecca Simpkins and Mackenzie Rosenthal

After Pattonville announced that school would remain closed for the spring semester and be conducted through e-learning only, most of the spring sports announced that there wouldn’t be a spring season. This news was disappointing for all students, but in particular the seniors. One of the spring sports, however, Track and Field, has found a way to maintain Distance Track.
At the beginning of the break, before their season was cancelled, the coach Ms. Hall started a Google Classroom, and they are continuing to use this tool. Athletes such as Bryant Ewing feel the online connection is so important right now. He explains, “The Classroom has become somewhat of a hope, a place where we can talk, share our goals, and log miles to keep us accountable.”
Cordelia Hautekeete agrees. She noted that while their track season may have been cancelled, they are continuing to stay in shape. “I know that a couple of us track kids are doing our best to stay in shape, running five days a week while incorporating some strength training to get ready for this upcoming cross country season.”
In addition to maintaining a sense of accountability and community, the Distance Track Google Classroom, offers a space to motivate others to stay strong during this time, “I try to stay in shape as much as possible, I feel motivated by my teammates, and staying strong during these times is important for the culture of the team going forward,” Bryant Ewing says.
Once Coach Hall realized that the season would be cancelled, she started the Google Classroom to keep the runners connected and motivated. “That Google Classroom also keeps us all connected during this time. We are able to communicate and discuss things running related; I’ve shared ridiculous videos, and our mileage logs are always encouraging one another.”
Coach Hall knew that if she gave the runners the tools, they would be able to keep in shape. “I knew that Distance would keep working on their own if I gave them the tools, and I was right.”
In order to stay fit and strong during quarantine athletes need to exercise. According to sophomore Ruth McCarron, “I’m running every day, however much my coach has instructed that I run, and I’ve been doing ab workouts. Also, about two days of the week, I do a workout given to us by our coaches that is weight training that works our whole body.”
Another aspect of staying fit is conditioning. Sophomore Connor Lorino says, “Our coaches try to keep in touch with the team during this quarantine. We are given weekly workouts for cardio and then at home workouts to do afterwards. It’s just a matter of if the individual runner actually is committed to the conditioning still during this time.”
McCarron says the team is staying connected by “having a group chat and the coaches have a Google Classroom where we post what we have been running.” He also notes, “Our coach hosted a Google Meet the other day.”
Sometimes it’s hard for these young athletes to accept the fact they are not able to play this season. According to Lorino, “The feeling is really saddening due to the fact of this being my second year. I know how this can be devastating emotionally for our seniors that were expecting to go to State for their last year. I really can’t compare my emotions to their own at this time.”
With the stay-at-home order, there are still places athletes can go to run. Lorino says, “I mostly practice usually just anywhere I want to run. Most days it is either a timed or distance run, so it’s based off of mileages, but mostly at Pattonville Heights Track.” McCarron runs “just around her neighborhood, or “sometimes up to a small park that is in my area where not a lot of people go.”
Though their season didn’t pan out in the spring Coach Hall is looking into doing summer meets, if that becomes a possibility. “We’re keeping an eye out on summer meets for July possibly, if things calm down, maybe kids who are interested will get an opportunity to compete. If not, we are just hoping that this will really motivate our team to run miles over the summer so that we are super competitive and come back for redemption next year!”
Even though the season didn’t happen in the traditional sense, PHS track runners are finding ways to use technology to stay in shape and motivate their fellow runners.