For nearly two years, the Maple Grove stadium has sat quiet, anxiously awaiting the return of maybe its busiest sport of the spring season, track and field. The Maple Grove Crimson is preparing for their first taste of track and field since 2019, and want to make sure they do all they can to continue competing.
Boys head coach Casey Roberts said with this being the first spring season affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the coaching staff, like the athletes, is adapting on the fly to new protocols and measures to safety practice and compete as a team.
For example, during practices, they separate the 221 athletes on the team based on events and designate one of the 12 coaches on staff to oversee that pod. Before April 1, those pods could have 25 kids. Now, they are up to 50. Within those pods, masks are being worn at all times, and social distancing of at least six feet is being managed to the best of their ability. So far, even though some athletes are out due to contact tracing, Roberts said he knows of no positive cases originating from the track team, something he hopes the protocols will keep at bay.
“It feels like it’s a learning experience for everybody,” Roberts said.
Over the past year, these high school kids have gone through a lot, Roberts noted. Between having distance learning to then in-person, and now following strict guidelines like not attending the track meet of the opposite gender, their “normal” school year has been anything but. The one constant, however, is training and competing in the sports they love….