Running Solo

Paige Beck

The Girls’ Track Team Copes with Social Isolation with Photo Challenges

This wasn’t what the track team expected when they heard the phrase “running is an individual sport.” The team got four weeks of training in before spring break; they were looking forward to their indoor meets to start. The first meet was scheduled for March 17 at Wartburg college, but unfortunately, that meet did not happen. Colleges around the United States started closing due to the coronavirus. All sporting events were also canceled. 

Not only were colleges shutting down, but high schools also closed making it impossible for the girls to hold team practices. But the girls stayed hopeful that they would still have a season. 

Kory Swart
The girls’ track team took photos of themselves in a scavenger hunt competition as part of  the #move4maggie campaign to support Maggie McQuillen, an athlete from Anamosa, who was seriously injured in a car accident in March. Their coach compiled their photos into one.

The team couldn’t practice together, but that didn’t stop them from running individually. Suggested workouts were sent from their coaches, Margo Massey, Kory Swart, and Emma Cochrane, and the girls have been practicing hard every day since the beginning of self-quarantine.

“I have challenged myself to do every workout because I am hoping we will still get a season this year,” junior Lauren Ryan said.  

Not only have the girls been running, but they also participate in physical education teacher Preston Pedersen’s daily lifting workouts. “I’ve been working out in the mornings with Coach Pedersen’s bodyweight exercises and then go about my day,” said senior Ella Wischmeyer. Like Ryan, Wischmeyer is hoping for a season to compete in this year, especially since it is her last

Running isn’t the only aspect of track the girls are missing; they also miss the team atmosphere. “I miss seeing my teammates every day,” senior Aubrey Frey said. “Everyone is so positive, and I miss that team culture.”

Kory Swart
Photo compilation of girls’ track athletes completing a scavenger hunt in April.

“It’s been tough, but the team has been doing our best to stay together during this time,” Wischmeyer said. 

The coaches have been putting forth great efforts to keep the team atmosphere alive while staying at home. Every week the girls have a new assignment from their coaches. To prove the task has been completed, they post a picture to their Google Drive. The girls have done scavenger hunts, virtual toilet paper relays, and zoom meetings to make sure they stay in touch with each other. “The virtual activities hold the team accountable to do our workouts, but it also let us have some fun during the quarantine,” said Ryan. 

Even though this isn’t the track season that the girls were envisioning, they are making the most of it, and they are excited for when they can finally be able to run on the track together.