Wyoming Track Athletes Are Trying to Train Through the Unknown
Like their counterparts on the pitch, high school track and field athletes are playing the waiting game to see if there’s a season in Wyoming this spring.
WyoPreps continues its series of visiting with various coaches around the state on how they’re ‘coaching’ their student-athletes and dealing with the hold the sport is enduring. Plus, WyoPreps asked the coaches about a condensed season, if there’s a chance for that outcome.
Natrona County girls’ track and field head coach Brent Jurgensen admitted they tried to have a strategy ready before the stoppage took effect.
“The Friday before we were told not to go back to school, we sat the girls down and said, hey look, we’ve gotta have a plan in place to make sure you’re on our team communication app, and that we can get to you that way. We had a practice that Saturday morning (March 14) and were able to have that regular practice, then Sunday (March 15) is when they shut us down.”
They’ve been communicating regularly ever since, though Jurgensen admitted it’s the hardest piece but feels they’re doing well, given the circumstances.
He added, “Our assistant coaches are awesome. They’ve built workouts for each discipline within track and field, and the kids are instructed to follow their practice schedule. From what I’ve seen, they’ve done a pretty good job with that.”
Sheridan track and field head coach Taylor Kelting said it’s the same for them. They are messaging the student-athletes what they’d like them to do.
“We use our Hudl messaging service just to send out what we want for that week and here are the generic workouts we’d like you to do. Hopefully, those kids are getting that done. Sometimes they’ll communicate with us back saying, hey coach, I did this and this, and thanks for the workout.”
Kelting said not having interaction with the student-athletes is very tough.
“Just being able to be there with them on a constant basis and see their progression, especially with our technical events with all our field events, and even with my sprinters, just working block-stuff and all that, like form and everything else we do, it’s difficult because we can’t see them progress and you can’t help them and give them that feedback or coaching that they need to continue to improve.”
He added the hope is what we taught them in the past is and the foundation built from our coaching is what they’re using to get better on their own.
Mountain View is the defending champs in the 3A boys’ division. Their head coach Joel Giorgis acknowledged similar feelings.
“The older kids I don’t worry so much (about), but the younger kids, especially in the technique events, you feel helpless.”
As was the case with the soccer coaches in our previous spring focus, track and field coaches would be in favor of any sort of season.
Giorgis said, “I don’t care (what it looks like), let’s go. I think the kids would be ready. I think there’s plenty of kids working out. They’d be ready in 9 days if they allowed us to. If it’s a situation where we just run through a regional and state, I’m all for it. I’d do whatever just to get through some meet through a (this) year.”
The Kelly Walsh boys are the defending champs in Class 4A. Their new head coach is Eric Robb, who would take anything for a 2020 schedule.
“Any chance for the kids to get out there and have a couple of track meets. You know if we only get one and then regionals and state, so be it. As long as we got something, I’m prepared. We want to get out there and give these kids an opportunity to compete and show what they can do.”
Robb has a unique perspective being in his first year as head coach. We asked him about that, and Robb said at least they got a week of practice to meet the team and lay the groundwork.
“At least we’ve had a chance to get together and get some lines of communication and set the foundations, but it’s frustrating not being able to be there with them all the time.”
Jurgensen and the other coaches also referenced at least having something for the seniors.
“We want to get them a last shot, so I really hope that we can figure out a way to do it. I understand the logistics of that. You know State Track is a huge crowd. The place is packed every year, so trying to figure out how to manage around that, but I certainly hope that we do figure out some way.”
He stated he even understood why state basketball was shut down but said it leaves a sour taste.
For now, there’s a cloud of uncertainty hanging over all the Wyoming high school spring sports, as no one has an absolute answer to the ever-changing conditions with the coronavirus pandemic.
WyoPreps thanks the track coaches we talked with for their time and perspective.