While many PHS sports are postponed or altered due to the rise of Covid-19 cases in Rockingham county, indoor track has been in session since November 30th, and winter track has been practicing outdoors daily since the beginning of the season.
It has been a struggle to practice indoors due to the Covid distancing restrictions, and many facilities are closed or have a limited capacity for usage.
Competition against rivals has changed quite a bit during this pandemic. The racing is against the clock instead of neck to neck with the opposing teams runners, jumpers, and throwers.
The PHS team, along with many seacoast teams, have had multiple virtual meets. You might be asking yourself, what is a “virtual meet”? These meets consist of the athletes running against their teammates and submitting the final recorded times on a website to compare with other team rosters competing in the same events. These events do not allow spectators at the virtual meet, which is disheartening for many student-athletes.
Although the meets look much different than the traditional meets held at the UNH indoor track facility, the team is very grateful for the opportunity to compete virtually.
When asked about some of the changes in this year’s season, the boy’s track coach, Mike Lyford, shared, “it’s (Covid-19) affecting us because we can’t compete. The tracks we usually go to aren’t letting us in. Not because of us, but because of everybody and the concern of spreading the virus.”
The Girls coach, Stan Lyford, had a different spin on the season, stating that “we have a big turn out on the girl’s side and a lot of people are motivated even though we are practicing outside in the cold. We have to be masked up and distancing; everybody is doing very well.”
He also shared his insights about morality and numbers: “first of all I’m surprised by the number of girls that came out, actually 45 on the list, we have about 25-26 that come out every day, that’s really kind of amazing because we aren’t really doing any kind of competing, so I’m pretty happy with it.”
When asked about the challenges the pandemic has had on his season, Stan Lyford was positive again, sharing that “not having meets is the big one, numbers that’s not a problem, but I think Covid caused people to come out because it’s the only chance you get to see your friends, so track is a big social thing.”.
The yelling and cheering of parents and friends in an enclosed facility (away from the cold winter climate) is a privilege of the past. The pandemic has changed so many aspects of life, but the PHS coaches’ ingenuity has made it a successful season.