High school athletes continue their training at home

As COVID-19 forces schools to close for the rest of the academic year, after school sports are also in effect as the pandemic forces each sport’s team seasons to be cut short. High school seniors are left without experiencing the final season of their high school journey. Coaches, however, attempt to keep the athletes active by assigning at-home workouts for the students to complete.

“My whole track career was supposed to lead up to this season,” senior pole vaulter Kathrine Kyrylchuk said.  “It’s scary how fast it was all taken away and I know for me, this was my last chance to run competitively before college since I won’t be continuing track and field after high school. I also just found my true passion in track which is pole valuing and it’s hard having something like that taken from you with no warning.”

Kathrine Kyrylchuk found her true passion as a pole vaulter for her school’s track team
Photo by Kathrine Kyrylchuk

According to PIAA, all spring sports have been canceled for the rest of the year.  Track and field occur during the winter and spring seasons at Upper Merion Area High School and seniors Kathrine Kyrylchuk and Sarah Lattanze did not get to fully experience their final season as the pandemic occurred only weeks before their first meet.

It takes a while to get into a groove in track and I was just starting to get into my groove,” senior mid-distance runner Sarah Lattanze said. “And meets were coming up so there was something to look forward to instead of just practice every day.”

As the pandemic grew larger and the possibility of returning to school and continuing the season was fading, the track and field head coach issued at-home workouts in hopes to give the athletes something to do and clear their minds. Workouts are from Monday to Saturday and include a full warmup, timed intervals at a given pace and a cool down.

While this may seem like a good idea, some athletes have lost the motivation to continue their workouts. Some seniors, in particular, have lost motivation because some will no longer be competing in college. 

“I think that it’s good that they are still posting them, it gives me something to do,” Lattanze said. “but on the other hand I am trying to find why we are still doing them. For me, there is no reason to do a workout because I am not competing or training for anything. After this, I go to college and I won’t be running ever again.”

Ashleigh Struckus, seen running, is a low attacker on the Upper Merion Area High School’s LaCrosse team
Photo by Ashleigh Struckus

Similar to track and field, Upper Merion Area High School’s LaCrosse team has also ended their season. The team was also about to officially start their season as they were preparing for their first scrimmage.

We had been working really hard at practices and we were finally getting into plays (drills),” senior low attacker Ashleigh Struckus said. “There was lots of talent and potential and we could have easily had another strong team this season.”

The LaCrosse head coach has also encouraged the team to continue their workouts on their own at home. However, the coach has not sent out an official set workout, only occasional messages about completing a 30-minute workout and stick work.

As the athletes wrap their heads around their seasons ending, some coaches are still working to boost their spirits with positive messages and plans for the future.

“I will say my coach has been sending lots of positive messages to try to keep our heads up during these challenging times,” Struckus said. “She has also done a quote of the day where someone sends a quote to the team each day then passes it on to someone else for the next day.”

Sarah Lattanze, right, is a mid-distance runner for the Upper Merion Area High School’s track team
Photo by Sarah Lattanze

Similarly, the track and field head coach has kept her seniors in mind and has dropped subtle hints about a possible senior night in the future.

We had a track (apparel) order form that was canceled because the company was no longer able to do it,” said Lattanze. “So our head coach put out her own order form together and she found a company willing to do it.  She is also having us complete surveys about if we were to have a senior night. She keeps saying that more details involving the rest of the season are coming soon so I think she is still planning something for the seniors.”

The coaches of both spring sports teams of Upper Merion Area High School have not commented on this manner.  However, they still continue to stay in communication with their athletes during this time.