Spring sports: THHS track team finds its stride in abbreviated season

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Following PSAL’s decision to reopen sports this spring, sixteen sports teams across all seasons reopened at Townsend Harris, with no distinction between varsity and junior varsity. Coaches began gathering medical forms and permission slips in late March, conditioning in April, and competitions in May. The THHS Girls Track & Field Team under the guidance of Coach Timothy Connor has been working hard since they have reunited this season.

Returning to the team are several veteran runners along with many new recruits. Due to COVID-19, the track team has practiced without access to the usual Queens College track. To improvise, they have been training at Victory Field, Cunningham Park, and Kissena Park, while also using time, instead of distance, intervals. In addition, to reduce the chance of injury after a year hiatus, the team has focused on drills to improve their form, strength in muscle groups such as abs, arms, and legs, and endurance. The team has already had three meets at Benjamin Cardozo High School, Springfield Gardens, and Newton, and will have three more competitions this season. In compliance with COVID restrictions, the meets prohibit spectators and only feature a few teams. To keep in contact, the team is communicating virtually through Google classroom. 

Despite the team’s excitement about being together again, they are doing everything they can to prevent the spread of the virus, such as wearing face coverings and social distancing as best as possible. Freshman Abby Schwartzz said, “I’d say it’s harder than usual [to run with masks], especially at the beginning I used a cloth mask so it was difficult to get oxygen in.” However, many agreed that the benefits of implementing mask guidelines vastly surpass the slight inconvenience. While other athletes mentioned that COVID has impacted the use of the weight room at THHS, the track team continues to implement strength training by performing equipment-free workouts. 

Returning runner junior Maggie Zheng said, “It has been tough to some extent because I didn’t work out much over quarantine.” However, less strenuous and demanding moderations for some of the activities have helped the runners ease back into track without injuring or over exerting themselves. Freshman Emerald Yee said, “I’ve learned so much at track. Mr. Connor is really nice and helpful in finding out what you’re good at and allowing you to improve yourself.” 

This season is particularly special for freshmen, some of whom are meeting schoolmates for the first time in person, and seniors, who are trying to catch a glimpse of normalcy and fun in their final months at THHS. Emerald said, “It’s definitely tiring but it’s really worth it as it pushes me to work harder and everyone there is just so nice and welcoming to us freshmen.” 

Evidently, this season is unique and will challenge the resilience of the team. Maggie said, “I’m just glad to be on track and running again. It provides me with some sense of sanity and motivation.” The track team’s season will tentatively run through June.

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