Spring Athletes Run Virtual Races, Stay Active During COVID-19

Since Oak Knoll turned to remote learning in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, student-athletes on campus – and throughout much of the country – continue to lament the loss of their spring seasons.

Now, nearly a month after Oak Knoll spring athletes last gathered on the field together, one team has found a way to keep the competition alive – from a socially acceptable distance, of course.

Oak Knoll’s spring track and field team, made up of nearly 40 students, is now competing in virtual races two times a week.

“One day while I was out on a run, the idea came to me,” said Mickey Cassu, Oak Knoll’s Assistant Spring Track Coach. “I wanted to lift the spirits of our athletes any way that I could.”

Track and field currently holds virtual meets once or twice per week where their athletes are divided into five teams, each with a senior captain and six to seven students.

The track and field coaches, Coach Mitchell, Coach Lincoln and Coach Cassu send lineups to the captains before each competition day and the athletes, on their own time that day, are responsible for logging times, photos and videos proving their time and distances.

They try to assign events that can easily be accomplished in the students’ neighborhoods, with the help of the athlete’s family or at a local track that is not closed.

“We try to stick to the main track and field events such as sprinting, running and jumps and improvise as best we can,” Cassu said.

Some of the virtual events track and field has participated in includes the softball shot put, the standing broad jump, vertical leap, triple jump (hop/skip only) and the 100-, 200-, 400-, 800- and 1,600-meter dashes.

“It’s great to see the commitment our track and field coaches and student-athletes continue to make to their teammates and their sport,” said Dr. Kelly Childs, Oak Knoll’s Athletic Director. “Despite the distance, they continue to work hard, support one another, and make the most of this challenging time.”

While the virtual races are keeping the track and field athletes busy, other spring athletes are staying engaged by communicating with each other every day and keeping active with at home workouts.

Dr. Melissa Maskery, Oak Knoll’s Assistant Athletic Director and Athletic Trainer has emailed at-home workouts to Oak Knoll’s students, faculty and staff each day since March 16. Her workouts range anywhere from a quick 15-minute workout to a 30-45 minute workout – all of which can be done at home.

“I know this is a weird time for our community with a lot of unknowns. I want to remind you all how important it is to be taking care of yourself mentally, physically, and spiritually,” said Maskery. “I know that moving your body even for a little bit during the day can help with stress and relieve anxiety.”

While virtual races and at-home workouts are reliving some of the anxiety that quarantine brings, the lacrosse team’s service mission, for the second year in a row, continues to enrich their spring season.

The Royals have partnered with the Casey Powell World Lacrosse Foundation, which supports lacrosse players with experiences and opportunities who have been seriously injured or affected by disease.

Players have been sending vlogs and moral support this season to Lance Fenderson, an 18-year-old male from North Carolina who suffered a spinal cord injury while playing lacrosse in a high school playoff game last May.

Go Royals!