WAUKEE, Iowa — A year ago, track athletes realized they might not have a season. Now, after a year with COVID-19, the track season is on. The Waukee girls track team hosted a six-team meet on Friday. It’s their first meet of the year, and the first since 2019.
“One of the toughest things is some kids who haven’t done this in two years missed out on all the technical stuff, throwing, hurdling, jumping,” said Waukee head coach Matt Pries. “There was a lot of teaching and re-teaching. We’re depending on veterans to help us. Our coaching staff is fantastic.”
Pries said all he could do when COVID-19 hit was send out a weekly email reminding the athletes what they should be doing.
“It’s a really good environment and everybody’s cheering each other on. The motivation is really high,” said Emmie Murphy of the Ankeny track team.
“It’s a lot more motivating to run when you have other people around you supporting you and cheering you on,” said Talia Dosh of the Ankeny track team. “Especially tough workouts, like track workouts, it’s nice to have other people running with you.”
At least one Ankeny runner found that coming back after a year off was harder than expected.
“All of our expectations are the same as they were, even higher, because we’re older now,” said Zoe Shadraban of the Ankeny track team. “It’s very difficult with COVID. You’re sitting at home three months doing nothing.”
“We’re easing back into it, following all COVID protocols, just being cautious so we’re not losing two weeks of our season to exposure or anything like that,” said Ankeny head coach Thomas Cotter.
“It was kind of a different offseason. We didn’t get as much in as we wanted to,” said Urbandale head coach Mel Green Jr. “The girls put the passion into it and hard work into it, so we’re going to follow the plan and keep going.”
The Waukee boys track team hosted a large meet Thursday night with around a dozen teams. That event drew the largest attendance of any Waukee athletic contest all year at around 800. Fans were outside, wearing masks and socially distant.