Boys track hopes for state meet

Team prepared for unprecedented, short season


(Left to right) Hayden Constas ’22, Sam Nowak ’21 and Cade Nelson ’21 race in the 1600 meter at Hinsdale South High School on April 21 (Chomko/LION).

Paige Darling, Multimedia Editor

The boys track season has endured constant changes from the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) and Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH,) sprinters’ coach Luke Taylor said. With new guidelines put in place to ensure the safety of high school athletes, the season begins April 1 and has a tentative end date of June 18.

“It’s gonna be a big adjustment because we’re used to going from January until the end of the school year when the state track meet is,” Taylor said.

The constant wait for information regarding safety restrictions and approval for meets has been difficult as they prepare to start the season, Taylor said. The team is hoping a state meet will be approved. There has already been a small victory for the season since a conference meet was approved for May 31, along with a sectionals meet for June 11. 

“For the season, I just hope the team gets to compete,” short distance sprinter Ben Barney ‘21 said. “Usually I would hope to have a good conference, sectionals and state but a lot of that right now is unknown if we will even have that.” 

If approved, the IHSA State meet will be held on June 18, Taylor said. Currently there haven’t been any official guidelines released for the potential meet. The state meet was cancelled last year, but in 2019 the team had seven all-state athletes in four events. 

“It’s one of the best conference meets in the entire state,” Taylor said. “If you’re able to compete to be in the mix for a conference championship, that’s always a good deal. We want to get back into the mix.” 

The rushed season hasn’t impacted the team’s training schedule as the season’s start and end dates have been known, allowing ample time to plan the training schedule for the athletes, Taylor said. Due to the shortened season, it is a priority that students are in shape before it starts. To prepare, there has been preseason conditioning and training three days a week where sprinters run before school and distance runners run after school in order to practice in a socially distanced manner. 

“It was frustrating not being able to get into the routine right off the bat.” Taylor said. “But I think I’m really looking forward to starting off.”

Another important aspect for the team this year is making sure everyone stays healthy and safe, Taylor said. Some guidelines include that track competitions must be outdoors and runners must wear masks at practice and when competing. Wearing masks when running hasn’t affected the runners performance during preseason conditioning, but they are still hoping it will eventually be approved where masks don’t have to be worn when competing, Taylor said. 

“I think a lot of the responsibility to stay healthy will fall on each athlete individually,” Barney said. 

Despite the season being overshadowed by so many COVID-19 hardships, athletes are looking forward to competing and winning as many competitions as they can, long distance runner Jocqael Thorpe ‘21 said. 

“I just want to be at my best every race and dominant in the race,” Thorpe ‘21 said. “If we come together to win meets, this is going to be a great rest of the year.”