Winter Track’s Unique Season

Faced with a list of questions and challenges, Bucks’ track athletes and coaches maintain focus on preparing for a season.


Will Jack, Staff Writer

After getting delayed just a week into the season, the CB West Winter Track and Field team is back in action, but not without big changes caused by COVID. These changes include practices and meets being fully outside, masks being worn for full practices, and uncertainty about when and who the team will be racing during the season.

The most important change for CB West’s track team might be the absence of Coaches Conboy and Wetzel. The team didn’t replace them for the season. Instead they worked with what they already had, expanding the duties of multiple existing coaches including Coach Mahoney, Sherwood, Maha, Foster, and Ferentino. When I asked Coach Mahoney about the changes to coaching, he had this is say:

We were not able to bring in new coaches for this track and field season.  I have taken on more responsibilities as head coach in addition to just coaching the distance squad during the track season.  I will also be using my steeplechase background to work with the hurdlers as we move forward with our season.  Coach Sherwood has taken on a lot more responsibilities as well.  Coach Sherwood has always been our pole vault and strength & conditioning coach and is now taking on the sprinters and jumpers with their workouts.  Coach Maha is still continuing to work with the throwers.  We are also lucky to have Coach Foster and Coach Ferentino to volunteer their time with the team as often as possible.”

How meets will be operated is another big question for the season. Winter track meets usually take place indoors with multiple teams competing. The meets will now take place outside and will not feature large amounts as they usually do. 

Which track they race on and when the meets are have not been determined yet, but the track will be outside and the meets will be more of a dual-meet (two teams head-to-head) style as opposed to the larger invitational (Teams from all over the area competing) style meets that usually take place during the winter. 

Coach Mahoney’s response after I asked how they would work being outdoors:

“Great question – I guess we won’t be 100% certain until we get through the first meet.  We will be running the same events that we would normally run in the winter on an indoor track, just outside.  The only exception to that is that the PIAA has ruled it unsafe to run relays.  If there is one thing that is for certain, it’s that we will be running in the cold!”

The way practices have been operating has been different from a normal season in many ways. The team can no longer warm-up or work on core exercises indoors, so they take place outside.In addition to being outside, masks must be worn for the entire practice, due to COVID cases increasing in Pennsylvania. 

Runners must stay apart when they are not on runs or working out on the track. All runners are required to fill out a COVID survey before practice, ensuring that people with COVID symptoms stay home. 

Here’s Coach Mahoney’s take on practices:

Practices have been a little different this season.  COVID is one thing that has obviously changed how we run practice.  All members of the team need to fill out a survey each day listing any possible symptoms as well have their temperature taken before each practice.  Then there is running with a mask.  That is certainly taking time for most people to get used to but most are finding that it is not effecting their performance.  It may be uncomfortable at times; however, everyone is still getting the same amount of oxygen to practice and compete at a high level.”

“In addition to the protocols, we are also forced to have our entire practice outside.  We have always worked out outside in the past; however, we would always warm-up and cool down in the gym.  That is not the case this year.  Coaches have had to adjust their workouts to allow for their athletes to warm-up in the cold.  Coach Sherwood has changed our strength and condition program to more free body weight exercises that can be done outside, as we no longer have access to the weight room inside the building.”

Despite these changes to the season, the boys winter track team is determined to compete and has followed all of the new guidelines to make sure practices remain a safe place to be. The luxury of competing will be missed, but the team will keep the same winning mindset when they have their outdoor races. Hopefully the team can have a successful season and stay safe while competing.