‘Dedicated, Ambitious and Cheerful’ Woodson Runners Outpace the Pandemic

The Woodson Track & Field Team Stays Motivated Despite the COVID-19 Restrictions

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Runners, draped with masks and focused on the race at hand, stay determined to reach their goals. Photo courtesy of Coach Garrett Kroner.

The sounds of whistles blowing and distinct chatter from teens heighten as one draws closer to the Pat Cunningham Stadium. The air is cool and the porta-potty still provides an overwhelming stench. 

Something, however, is different. It could be the line of cars with students getting their temperatures taken before even being allowed into the stadium. Or maybe it is the lack of athletes on the field due to restrictions of two practices a week. As most know, track and field is a sport that serves as an everyday challenge: Run ten laps around the track, get through a 40-minute run around the neighborhood, hit the 200 abs mark. These obstacles are a fundamental aspect of what makes the sport so hard-core. With COVID-19 forcing restrictions on practices and competitions, however, track and field is not what it used to be. 

That is not to say that the sport cultivates no challenge. In fact, the challenges may be more pressing than ever. Senior Lydia Falardeau is in her third year of track and finds new obstacles in her routine due to the pandemic. 

“Sometimes it’s hard because practices and meets can be canceled at any time because of the unknowns of the virus,” she said, “but I think we all do a good job of staying positive and showing up to practice with a hard working attitude.” 

Tom Lockwood, junior, pulls ahead along the curve. Photo courtesy of Coach Kroner.

Samar Josyula, a senior and a long-sprints runner, has faced some stifling roadblocks as well. “[The team] is not progressing as well as we were before, but that’s expected,” he said. Even with the restrictions and possible setbacks ahead, Josyula still holds out hope for a great senior season. “It’s very different from previous years, but hopefully we’ll be back to normal by the spring,” he said.  

While athletes are feeling the lows of the pandemic in their athletic experiences, coaches work extra hard to provide a challenging but rewarding season for their athletes. Coach Garrett Kroner, the coach for both cross country and track and field, has noticed the toll that the pandemic has taken on his runners. “A routine schedule every day after school provides motivation for the kids to get in the kind of running necessary to be successful,” he said. “Without the motivation provided by running with their friends, that kind of effort may simply fall to the wayside, and it’s easy to fall into bad habits.” 

Still, Coach Kroner’s optimism for his athletes’ success remains unwavering. 

With everything going on, it’s a joy to still see them being so dedicated, ambitious and cheerful, ultimately getting the most out of what our sport has to offer even if it’s not what they’ve been used to,” says Kroner.

Two Woodson runners compete against one another. Photo courtesy of Coach Kroner.