Due to COVID-19 restrictions, prep athletes have not been able to compete so far this school year.
There was no Metro League season, no district or state championships, but Bainbridge High School athletes were still able to workout in the hope of participating in shortened seasons in 2021. Those who participate in low-risk sports — golf, tennis, cross country and track — have been able to gather thanks to the work of the athletic department and coaches.
Many were new to the sports – they wanted something to do to get out of the house. Many are happy just to have the time together as much as anything, since in-person learning won’t start until January at the earliest.
Last week, under the stadium lights at BHS, the track team gathered with head coach Andy Grimm and his assistants as they trained together in physically distanced training pods of three to five athletes. Grimm worked with discus and shot put throwers and said their technique improved, though their weight room work was curtailed. Athletic Director Jim Corsetti and coordinator Sarah Bullock oversaw mandatory COVID-19 training.
Coach Paul Benton worked with sprinters and middle-distance runners on interval and tempo runs, occasionally setting up workouts as continuous relays.
“We’re stressing general conditioning and having fun together,” Benton said. “Since most of the kids are new to track we’ve done some introductory teaching, such as three-point starts, walk-over hurdle exercises, relay handoffs, box jumps, even the triple-jump rhythm, as well as the usual dynamic warmups and core work. We try to have something new every day.”
The track team also enjoyed the company of special guest BHS graduate Emma Brundige, who is pursuing her studies at Western Washington University from home and training for the school’s track team as a sprinter and long jumper.
The cross country squad has been working with head coach Anne Howard Linquist at local parks twice a week, as well as the stadium on Fridays.
“I’m glad everyone has a chance to run with others with coach guidance this fall,” said Zoe Lim, senior captain of the cross country team. “I think this training period will make our team stronger for the season, so I’m super hopeful about how spring training will go.”
The runners took part in time trials during Thanksgiving week at Battle Point Park, including a 5K on the main trail, while the track athletes ran 100- and 200-meter sprints.
“Our goals are for everyone to build a solid running base and be able to race faster than ever in the spring,” Howard Lindquist said. “At the same time, student-athletes can get some active, physically-distanced outdoor interaction and get to know a few of their teammates. It’s not a perfect situation, but we’re seeing energized, improving — and hopefully happier — athletes.”
Although the pandemic has thrown a wrench into the plans for all teams across Kitsap County and Washington state, getting even the tiniest shred of normalcy has been welcome relief for BHS student-athletes.
“Personally, I feel like this out of season period has been pretty awesome,” senior captain Cate Gleason said. “I’ve been running more than I’ve really ever run before, and my training pod and I just ran a half marathon, which was lots of fun (and pain). For the mysterious spring season, I’m planning on doing my best in whatever competition I get to participate in, whether it’s just time trials by myself or full-on races.”