Winter track adjusts to new protocols

Members+of+the+boy%27s+winter+track+team+preparing+for+a+race+at+BU

Provided by WA Boys XC/Track Instagram

Members of the boy’s winter track team preparing for a race at BU

Julia Bisso, Staff Writer

Students who participate in winter track enjoy the social aspect of the sport, as they are accustomed to practicing their drills together and running in groups to improve their skills. Winter track normally takes place in the halls of Westford Academy. However, this year, along with everything else, the sport is experiencing new protocols and changes in order to operate safely amidst the pandemic.

This season is different than in past years, as it has been moved from the Winter season to Fall 2 due to COVID-19. The Winter Track season will officially start on February 22, 2021, and continue through mid-April. 

On January 25, 2021, the program started hosting an out-of-season clinic in order to prepare the athletes for their upcoming season. The clinic is currently taking place on Mondays and Thursdays from 2:30 p.m to 3:30 p.m. 

Head Coach Philip Archambault is looking forward to the upcoming season, as this is his 26th season coaching winter track for Westford Academy. Archambault spoke about the protocols being taken to ensure that the runners will be safe. 

Archambault said all athletes wear masks for the duration of the workout and equipment is sanitized prior to and in between uses. Students are taking breaks masked up and six feet apart as are coaches. Workouts also start with a temperature check.

The team is very aware that if the new protocols are not followed, they likely won’t be able to have practices anymore, and could risk losing their season altogether.

As this is her first year being a winter track captain, senior Maia Wahlquist is very excited for the upcoming season and to help the team work together to succeed. 

“This season has a lot in store for us. We have had quite a long break from training which will definitely make the transition back into practices difficult, but I know we will all put forth our best efforts. I’m excited to start competing again and hopefully see some people breaking personal and school records,” Wahlquist said. 

Meets will run differently this year, but exactly how still remains undetermined. The program continues to await a decision from the state and the team can then prepare from that point. 

Wahlquist also speaks about how running with a mask could possibly affect the performance of her and her teammates. 

“I definitely understand why running with a mask can be challenging, but I don’t believe it will greatly impact our performance. I can see the concerns behind it, but I have noticed that our athletes have managed to wear them just fine at practice so far,” Wahlquist said. 

Recruitment for the athletes will remain the same, whether it’s through word-of-mouth or through video with everything becoming virtual.

It is encouraged for students to participate in the pre-season clinic in order to regain their strength and ultimately become faster runners. 

Despite the new changes and protocols the team is facing, the runners are excited to begin participating and competing in their beloved sport this season.

“The team is full of focused, intelligent athletes who realize that this and last year are far different than any other year in recent memory and understand that adaptation is part of life. We look forward to the indoor season and to the new challenges it will bring,” Archambault said.