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  • Mae Kline

Track and Field Sprints Toward New Season

It’s January 11.

The air is cold, but the sky is bright from the winter sunlight.

Looking around, every athlete returning to the track and field team is comforted by the familiar, blocky color scheme of the red track, pale grass, and wide open blue sky. They know they are in for the long haul, but it’s off to a good start.

The Athens Academy varsity track and field season is extensive, with certain dedicated athletes beginning training as far back as November. The climax of the season doesn’t come until mid-May, leaving the athletes with many months of practice and training.

Unfortunately, the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic in March of 2020 meant that last year’s season was cut short after only a couple of successful meets.

Photo of Mills Crossland and Addison Ollendick-Smith. Photo by Eliza Connolly.

This season, coach Petra Babbitt says that her goals include having a full season, qualifying as many athletes as possible for the state tournament, encouraging athletes to reach their personal bests, and having fun. In order to keep the coaches and students safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, there will definitely be some changes to this season. Aside from the obvious presence of masks, there are no more group warm-ups. Attendance for meets will likely have to be limited (although the added benefit of being spread out outside reduces the chances of transmission). It will be harder for the team to safely coordinate bus rides and snacks for meets, and

The first meet of the season is home on Feb. 27. It is one of the smallest meets of the whole season (only against Hebron), so everyone should get a chance to compete and master the pattern of a high school track meet. There is some major talent on the team this year (both in field events and amongst the runners) and Athens Academy’s chances at the state tournament are looking great!

(Right: Photo of thrower Mae Kline. Photo by Eliza Connolly)