“It has been very difficult for all of us,” COS head track and field coach Katie Woodward said. “We have built this team on the idea that we are not just a team but a track family. We miss our family, not to mention the lack of closure. “
College athletes throughout the state and nation have had their seasons end early due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
College of the Siskiyous was no exception, as all three spring sports, track and field, softball, and baseball had their seasons called off.
COS head track and field coach Katie Woodward said it was tough the season ended so abruptly after only a few meets. The squad competed in three meets at Butte, Yuba and Shasta College before the season was called off last month.
“It has been very difficult for all of us,” she said. “We have built this team on the idea that we are not just a team but a track family. We miss our family, not to mention the lack of closure. “
She said due to the rapid progression of events, they were unaware their last practice was going to be their final one.
“For the sophomores, we didn't know we weren't going to see each other again for potentially years... or ever,” Woodward said. “I was trying to reassure them and help them keep a positive attitude and keep their eyes on the ball and I didn't realize I should have been telling all of them how proud of them I am, that I love them all like my own kids, how much I'll miss them and how thankful I am to have been a part of their journeys.
A positive is all sophomores that competed in spring sports were given an extra year of eligibility.
“I am hoping eligibility will be the silver lining,” Woodward said. “This will allow them another opportunity and another year to enjoy every second of competition.”
“I hope this whole ordeal will also give them a new outlook on life,” she added. “ I hope they will appreciate everything, just a little bit more; be thankful for every moment.”
Woodward said that these are the future plans for the sophomores on the track and field team.
Emma King, JB Langford, and Franz Lerch were already planning to stay another year to complete more classes and compete.
Dominique Navarrette signed with Cal Poly Pomona.
Hope Dodgen and Caitlin Bennett an Etna High grad, recently signed with Simpson College of Redding.
Yreka High grad Blake Chitwood plans to walk-on at OIT. D'Angelo Biggs, a standout for the Eagles football team, recently signed to play on the gridiron at Western Illinois University.
YHS grad Kaylee Gardner is planning to start a phlebotomy class in Medford, Ore.
Woodward said while she is pleased the majority of the sophomores plan to continue to purses track and field “I am so sad for them because they have worked so hard for months through the fall for the opportunity to compete this spring and were not able to see the fruits of their labor.”
She added that while “Some people downplay what the various students are going through because "it could be worse," which of course it could, but people have to remember what it's like to be young and to have something like this be your entire universe. Not to mention that this is such a short fleeting season of life they are going through right now, and they want to enjoy every second.”
Coach Woodward said that she has been sending out workouts for the athletes. She also checks in with them to see how they are doing.
“But it obviously just isn't even close to the same,” she said. “The runners are able to run on their own, but they are deprived of the team atmosphere and the extra motivation and competition that comes from being accompanied by your friends and teammates. I am not even able to video chat athletes while they throw because of liability and the danger associated with throwing heavy implements.”