Snow forces track team to improvise

Winter proved frustrating for the track team as multiple snow storms left the team unable to complete its normal workout routines. Coaches and athletes adjusted, accordingly.


**Leading the pack…** *Running at the front of the field, junior Manny Rota-Talarico leads the boys 3000m run. Despite the cold winter weather the track team ran outdoor “polar bear” meets to abide by COVID-19 indoor gathering restrictions.* *Arrowhead photo by Dekai Averett*

Due to the multiple snow storms that hit southeastern Pennsylvania during the winter season, the track and field team had to adapt and improvise by working out in the bus loop and in the main concourse.
The frequent snowfall and cancellation of practices added another hurdle for the track team to clear. The coaches and athletes were already dealing with a limited, unconventional season due to COVID-19 restrictions.
According to boys head coach John Donahue, many teams were not able to compete or practice at all due to complications brought by the ongoing pandemic and the heavy snowfall.
“Some of the other schools we faced didn’t really have any meets or had one meet,” Donahue said.
Due to experiences in prior years, the team was already prepared to adjust to the inclimate weather this year by shifting practice to the the bus loop and main concourse,
“We always have a plan and because we’ve been doing it for 10 years now. We kind of know what our options are,” Feliciani said.
According to Donahue, snowfall is typical of the winter track season and years where we don’t get hit by snow are exceptions to this rule.
“I’d probably say last year was unusual in the sense that we were hardly ever kicked off the track I would say,” Donahue said. “Any time you’re doing winter track in Pennsylvania it’s just something that you have to deal with.”
Even with a place to practice in snowy weather, the surfaces of the bus loop and main concourse pose their own challenges.
“The ground in the parking lot and the ground in the main concourse are much much harder than the ground on the track so the training volume has to be knocked down a little bit,” Feliciani said. “We’re kind of calling our shots like kids playing a pickup game of football.”
According to junior Manny Rota-Talarico, the harder surface was a small obstacle in the way of his recovery.
“I really only had the blacktop and sidewalks to run on. This was much tougher on my body so I had to make sure I was taking the proper steps to ensure full recovery in order to hit the next day as hard as I was supposed to,” Rota-Talarico said.
Feliciani believes that as a coach his goal has to be to do “everything humanly possible” to make sure his team can still have the best season possible, even with the pandemic and weather restrictions.
“As a high school athlete you only get one shot at this. As much as outsiders and people who have been in the sport for a long time can look at it and say, ‘Oh you did the best that you could,’ that’s a small consolation to athletes that are trying to achieve stuff,” Feliciani said.
According to Rota-Talarico, the work that the coaches and administration have done to create a winter season that’s as normal as possible has set him ahead of other athletes.
“I’ve received a head start compared to some athletes that weren’t able to compete during the winter due to covid,” Rota-Talarico said.
Despite the limitations in practicing and competition, Donahue ended the indoor track season impressed of his team
“I was very impressed with how the team did in the meets. I was very happy that our school was really, in a good way, pushing the envelope and trying to give kids as many opportunities as possible,” Donahue said.