The Kaiser track and field team is back in action! “I’m happy to be back at track,” sophomore Ian Shearer said. “It’s been about a year since we were on the track itself, so it was great to run like that again.” The track athletes are eager to be competing again. “It feels really good,” junior Skye Salzer said. “I missed running on the track but I definitely missed my friends and coaches more.” Senior Derya Hanusz-Soguk added, “It’s awesome to be able to see everyone competing again and pushing themselves to run and work hard,” she said.
School sports have had some changes to adapt to pandemic restrictions, and the track team is no exception. “We have to wear masks to practice and track meets, even when we are racing.” Hanusz-Soguk said. “There are also no spectators allowed at meets, which creates a really different experience.” The track athletes find it particularly difficult to breathe through the mask while running. “Everyone has to wear a mask while running and maintain six feet apart,” Salzer said. “[But] the coaches let us take off our masks during break[s] which I’m really happy about.”
Being away from track for so long left the students with more to look forward to. “I’m really looking forward to competing again,” Shearer said. “We only had two meets last year because of COVID, and I wasn’t able to compete the way I wanted.” For the seniors’ last year, seeing familiar faces and watching underclassmen taking on leadership roles was another unexpected joy. “I’m looking forward to seeing all of the underclassmen compete and get faster as the season progresses,” Hanusz-Soguk said.
The track team hasn’t just been sprinting and pole vaulting, they’ve also been giving back to the community. The team decided to hold a food drive in March to help people who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. “We wanted to give back to our local community and do something that benefits others,” Hanusz-Soguk said, to “help as many people as we can,” said Shearer. They managed to collect over 250 cans, worth $600, and the team was happy with the results. “I’m pretty grateful that people from track donated,” Salzer said. “It shows how if there is that right push, it can bring people together to do some good for the world.”
The masks the track team wear may restrict their breathing, but they do not restrict their cougar spirit.