Central’s boys track and field season begins March 30

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Members of the Central boys track and field team include (front, left to right) Ryan Schroeder, Sean Wilwert, Lane Orr, Storm Huinker, Mark Hertrampf, Sam Fettkether, Brayden Finley; (back) manager Beth Wilwert, head coach Tom Wilwert, Hunter Grimm, Sabastion Florek, Corey Weber, Carson McClintock, James Eberhart, Dan McGreal, Joel Thiese, Elliot Kelly and assistant coach Tyler Bazyn. (Photo courtesy of Blaker Photography)

By Willis Patenaude, Times-Register


It’s been almost two years since Central’s boys took to the track, and despite it being his 21st season as coach, Tom Wilwert is fully aware of the challenges this represents. 


Since 2019, the once freshmen and sophomores, who will now comprise the team as juniors and seniors, saw a season get cancelled due to COVID-19 and watched upperclassmen graduate. The Warriors enter a new season with an alarming set of unknowns. 


“It’s almost like starting over,” Wilwert said. 


One aspect of this “starting over” are the repercussions of COVID-19 guidelines, which  have seen indoor meets get cancelled. That was a disappointment to Wilwert, who believed the meets allowed the athletes to test themselves, especially the newer members of the team. 


It’s also changed the way the team warms up and trains, switching to small groups and practicing in ways that fit social distancing. 


However, a more impactful way COVID-19 has changed the team has to do with Wilwert’s attitude toward athletes who are sick. 


“In the past, if an athlete was sick, I expected them to ‘tough it out,’” he said. “COVID has taught me that sick athletes should probably go home and get healthy. The challenge with this is getting consistency in training when athletes are missing.”


As for the upcoming season, Wilwert was a man of few words, offering only: “I think our strengths will be in field events and hurdles, but we have some options in the sprint and distance events. We will see how our athletes progress and grow.” 


Central’s boys track and field season kicks off on Tuesday, March 30, with a meet at West Delaware, followed by a meet on Thursday, April 1, at Waukon.

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