Girls Cross Country team looks at COVID from a different perspective


Photo courtesy of Fred Schwendemann

Junior Emma Collison has learned to adapt this season to make the most of her time running with the team.

Anabel Lisabeth, Staff Writer

While many of the boys have felt that COVID has not negatively impacted their season, many girls on the team argue that COVID has brought far more harm than good.

“The biggest negative for me has been not having spectators,” said Senior Elaina Schwendenmann. “Our parents haven’t been allowed to get out of the car while we race and we haven’t been able to watch the boys at all because they have to leave before we get to race.” The majority of runners have already learned and adapted to this new way of racing. Having no crowds is now considered “normal” for the team. Junior Emma Collison is one of many runners who has a strong opinion toward this. “So many emotions went through my head for the first time not having crowds. A part of me was sad and a part of me was mad. It’s the craziest feeling not having my family and teammates cheering me on, but I have adapted to the situation and it doesn’t affect me,” said Collison.

Not only has the lack of volume at meets affected the runners, but many girls have noticed a slight drift in relationships between teammates.

“This cross country season was not how I expected it to be a year ago. The virus has taken away some of the team aspects like spaghetti dinners, invitationals, and combined practices. It’s been hard to completely feel like a team when we are so separated. Despite the negatives, I’m still thankful for the season that we have,” Sophomore Jacie Remtema claimed. However, this has affected the seniors far more than the underclassman because for some, it is their last chance to run competitively. “I feel like my relationships with my teammates have drifted a little bit because of our practice pods. I feel like I don’t see as many people as I normally would,” Collison said.

Despite the struggles COVID has brought to this year’s season, many are grateful for the opportunities that they still have; multiple runners are highly appreciative that they have an outdoor sport that doesn’t require a mask.

“Some of the positives are the fact that we have a season and are able to compete,” Schwendenmann said, Also, we don’t have to wear masks when we run because a lot of sports have to do that. I am still looking forward to the championship meets at the end of the season.” Although the girls aren’t allowed to watch the boys, they’re still appreciative to watch and cheer on their own team. “Some of the positive things COVID has brought to this season is how we can still have our races. Not everything is canceled and it’s nice to be able to watch our team compete and cheer them on,” said Remtema.

While COVID has had a negative effect on some of the runners and their performances, it has also been beneficial to Head Coach Brian Salyers in the sense of coaching the team. One of the main methods of coaching the team used this summer was virtual meets. This was an easy way to communicate and display information to the team. If there was ever an instance where the team couldn’t gather, it would resort to this option.

“I truly believe that coaching through this experience will never be forgotten. Some of the online capabilities were extremely useful and we will definitely continue to use them,” said Salyers. He also claimed that the cross country team is extremely lucky to be put into the position they’re in. It wasn’t terrible for the runners to adapt to practice during quarantine, because running is extremely accessible. “Running has been one of the only things you could do during quarantine. Our attendance has been so successful compared to the last several years,” he expressed. The level of boredom quarantine has brought to the athletes has made it possible to have such great attendance at practices.

The girls cross country team is still looking forward to some important meets. They are practicing every day to reach new goals. The team expects to compete at the LVC Championships at Hess Hathaway Park (postponed at a later date), MHSAA Pre-Regionals at Kensington Mettro Park on October 23rd, MHSAA Regionals at TBD on October 31st, and MHSAA State Championships  at Michigan International Speedway on November 7th.

Unfortunately, the girls lost three meets against Brighton HS, Walled Lake Northern HS, and Walled Lake Western HS. However, the team still defeated seven other teams.