LHS Track Team Adjusts to COVID Regulations


Mid and long distance track athletes doing a workout outside. Photo by Angie Xu

Elias Tamer and Ishaan Tipirneni

This year, the Lexington High School indoor track team successfully navigated the numerous challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, the boys team has a winning record of 4-0-1, while the girls team record is 4-1.

“We tied Reading who were our rivals and they beat us last year so that’s better than a loss, and we’re hoping to beat them at the league meet,” Evan Eberle, a senior and captain of the boys’ team, said.

While the team is off to a strong start, the season isn’t over yet. The coaches of the track team remain optimistic about the early season.

“The success has been good, but it’s only January and there is still a lot of improvement to be made even though the kids are running very, very well right now,” Emmett O’Brien, the head coach of the girls’ team, said.

Many members attributed the team’s success to the strong leadership of the coaches and captains.

“[The captains] are role models in the sense of how they behave on the track and off. They have tremendous work ethics which underclassmen can emulate as they watch their captains train. The captains are the ones who lead them out to all these meets. They have great words of wisdom before the meets start,” O’Brien said.

Eberle also highlighted the coaches’ willingness to help everyone on the team.

“They all have similar goals for what they want the team to succeed and they do a good job of helping everybody achieve those goals. And even if someone isn’t scoring points on varsity, they’re still willing to take the time to help them get better,” Eberle said.

This year’s track season greatly differed from previous years due to the pandemic.  Several changes include the team’s cautionary stance about players’ health during practices and competitions.

“We have had numerous emails saying ‘I don’t feel well’ and we tell them to stay home, we don’t want anybody who even thinks they have something wrong to come to practice and spread it. We are just being very cautious,” O’Brien said.

Coaches have been especially adamant about remaining masked when both practicing and competing. This mandate was heavily emphasized by the coaches of the track team.

“We have to wear a mask at all times during practice and meets. When you’re racing you’re allowed to drop your mask below your nose and even your mouth sometimes because it would be hard for them to breathe. But, when we are in the field house the kids are wearing their masks on at all times, even during training,” O’Brien said.

In response to the mask mandate, Alexander Lau, a sophomore and short distance runner, spoke about how athletes have been impacted by the new regulations.

“I think everyone is just a bit more tired after running because we have to wear a mask. But besides that, I don’t think it has a dramatic impact on times,” Lau said.

Despite the safety measures put in place, several athletes expressed the concern of contracting COVID-19.

“I’m just worried to catch COVID because we’re spending so much time in an indoor space with 80 to 100 people and sometimes when people are running, their masks fall down below their nose or mouth and that might expose people,” Lau said.

Other athletes also shared how the pandemic has negatively affected the team’s attendance at practices.

“It’s just a big team and we’ve had a lot of kids who’ve had to take a step back due to COVID. A lot of kids have gotten it. I missed a few days because I was a close contact,” Eberle said.

Despite the concerns caused by COVID-19, the indoor track team continues to succeed.

“These kids are running really, really well and throwing well and jumping well so they are stepping up to the challenge, they are not letting it defeat them or let it inhibit them from improving,” O’Brien said.