KHS track holds virtual practice despite pandemic


Megan Glasgow

Over 50 athletes and alumni have joined the track teams virtual workouts through Zoom.

Not even a global pandemic can prevent KHS track and field from practicing. Since the spring sports season was cancelled in March due to the coronavirus, the team has held optional workouts over Zoom twice a week. Over 50 athletes have joined the group video call and participated in a workout led by the coaches or an alum.

“I knew that we had a very slim chance that the season was going to continue, because of everything else that’s gotten cancelled, but the state hadn’t announced it yet,” Roberta McWoods, track and field head coach, said. “It was a way to keep everybody in some sort of fitness shape if the season was to go on.”

McWoods said she starts each meeting with a motivational talk about staying fit, staying healthy and staying positive. After a couple weeks of workouts, she handed the talks over to famous athletes, including baseball Hall-of-Famer Ozzie Smith, KHS alum Alvin Miller and Olympians Colleen Quigley and Jackie Joyner-Kersee.

Along with celebrities, the track team has also welcomed alumni, family and friends from over a dozen different states to join their virtual workouts. McWoods said staying together and building community has been beneficial to the athletes. Marianthe Meyer, sophomore, said that getting to see the team, even virtually, has motivated and encouraged her.

I look forward to seeing all these people. Being able to see someone that you have a good bond with keeps you from becoming so lonely.”

— Marianthe Meyer

“I just really like being with all the people on the track team,” Meyer said. “I really like seeing Coach McWoods and Coach Parks. It’s kind of fun to still have something to do, so I look forward to seeing all these people. Being able to see someone that you have a good bond with keeps you from becoming so lonely.”

Despite the positivity found in the online meetings, the athletes said that missing their season has definitely been upsetting. Nate Jones, junior, almost qualified for the state championships with his relay team last season, and was disappointed that they could not try again this season. However, Jones said he is still attending the workouts to prepare for his next season.

“I thought we were really going to go to state this year, but we’re just going to have to wait until next year,” Jones said. “It’s good to workout as a team, because we still [have] next year. It’s getting us ready and keeping people in shape.”

Along with the mental and physical health components, McWoods said she decided to add a philanthropic component. The track team is donating to KSD Nutrition, an organization that provides meals for Kirkwood families that need help during quarantine. Anyone is welcome to donate here, and everything the team raises will be matched by Thrivent Financial when donations close on May 21.

“We don’t really want to call it donations,” McWoods said. “We’re calling it paying it forward. This is something we’ve never experienced before. We’re all in this together, we’ve got to help one another.”