The 2021 track season is rapidly approaching… and the Raiders are ready


Photo courtesy of Kira Lewis

At 4a states, sophomore Kira Lewis races against her opponents at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, where Reagan placed third. “I hope to bring down all of my times by a second or two which would really help with college admissions next year.” said Lewis, when asked about her goals for this year.

Anna Hunt, Rooster Reporter

Despite the setbacks and difficulties of COVID-19, our talented track runners are ready to get back on the track to prove that they are the best.

“Schools around the state know what Reagan High School is about due to track and field,” said assistant track coach Eric Fritz. “We are one of the better teams in the state.”

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the track season has been pushed back and shortened. At races and practices, all CDC guidelines will be followed and enforced by the coaching staff. 

“We are under the guidelines of the states,” said Fritz. “We have to do screenings before practice, temperature readings and a form with questions about whether they’ve been in contact with people.”

Although inconvenient, many of the track participants do not mind the new regulations.

“I do not think that it [COVID-19 precautions] can interfere that much,” said sophomore Kira Lewis. “I have learned to cope with it and it is not really that hard.”

The first official track practice this year is on April 12 at 4:00 p.m. The first week of practice will consist of fitness and figuring out places for runners to contribute to the team.

“Returning runners will know where they are at,” Fritz said. “The first year runners will need to find their spot on the team where they can contribute and be most successful.”

There are mixed opinions on the upcoming season. Some track participants are eager to get out and start practicing with their teammates, like senior track star Tazhae Woods.

 “I’m ready to go back to states!” said Woods.

 Others are less enthusiastic.

“It will be terrible,” said sophomore Ian Gates, when asked about the upcoming season. “I do not think anyone will like this season better than the last one.”

Last year, the indoor season started in Nov., and the outdoor season was scheduled to begin around Valentine’s Day. Reagan finished 3rd in the state, and narrowly missed winning.

Because of the spectacular results from the indoor season, hopes were running high for the outdoor season. Unfortunately, the outdoor season never happened. 

“I’m really sad that we did not get to go do our outdoor season,” Lewis said. “We could have potentially gone to nationals for outdoors.”

Team chemistry, an essential part of any sport, has to be re-developed this year. Lewis says that being around her teammates and her coaches keeps her motivated and her times low.

Along with team chemistry, the dedicated coaching staff has always played a large part in the team’s successes. This year, there will be several changes to the coaching staff.

Coach Fritz was the head coach of the track team last year. However, due to the pandemic, he has decided to step back and become an assistant coach instead.

“I’m just not able to dedicate as much time to the team this year, but I will still be out there assisting with the kids.” Fritz said.

His position is being filled by P.E teacher Richard Burton, who has been helping coach track since 2010. This year he is stepping up to be the head outdoor men’s and women’s coach for the first time. Coach Burton’s primary goal is to make it to states.

“The goal is to always be at the state championships, competing at a high level,” Burton said. “Coming out of COVID-19 I understand that it will be a little bit different, but we raised that standard level of expectation.”

Coach Burton wants his players to still be able to perform at the state level. The work will be harder, he says, and it will be difficult to get there, but he fully believes that his players are capable of performing at the level they always have.

“They [the coaches] are phenomenal,” said Lewis. “They really help when you are running and they push you to be the best. I could not run track without them. I cannot push myself the way they push me.”

Even though this season will be strange, the runners and the coaches have many goals they hope to accomplish. 

“My plan this year is to accomplish a new personal record.” Woods said.

Mr. Fritz wants to get runners qualified for states and win conference honors.  

“We want them to earn those all conference honors, and get out into the state championships; hopefully with some luck and hard work we can get some state champions.” said Fritz. “We have had quite a few state champions in the past couple years.”

However, with the focus usually on winning states and conference honors, sometimes the equally important catalysts for success can be overlooked, such as the close relationships formed between teammates. Positive camaraderie and a strong team bond can contribute to success just as much as good coaching or a strong mentality. 

“I am really glad that I did track because the bonds that I have created are some of the best bonds that will last a lifetime.” Lewis said.