Track and field: Competitive edge not hindered in trackless town
Every team was in the same boat during the spring of 2018.
Teams were confined to indoor practices for the majority of April, and once the weather cooperated in May, schedules became jam-packed with two months worth of competition.
But the challenges that the weather presented were nothing new to the Spring Valley Cardinals track and field team.
"I think our kids are used to challenges," Cardinals' assistant coach Sean Hoolihan said. "We don't have a track, we don't have field events to practice, but our kids do a good job of doing what we can with what we have."
Hoolihan's fellow assistant coach Greg Dieckman agreed with his co-coach and said his athletes remained upbeat throughout the 2018 season.
"I never heard a lot of complaints about it," Dieckman said. "One day we're going down by the golf course to run on the road there, and when cars come by we have to step aside, but that's all they know."
After school, the Cardinals can be found running laps around Spring Valley Middle/High School's parking lot or strengthening their endurance throughout the streets of the trackless town. Like the weather in Midwest springs, the Cardinals wish they could improve their resources, but they realize their limitations and plan to work around them.
"It's not like this just happened two years ago where they didn't have a track," Hoolihan said. "We try to do things as much as we can as coaches to get them as close to the real thing as we can. The kids just run with it."
Despite not having a track or exchange zones to practice hand-offs on, the Cardinals sent Dylan Bosshart and a girls' 4x200-meter relay team to the WIAA Division 3 state meet last season and return two of their state qualifiers in 2019.
Bosshart took eighth at state in the 110 hurdles and ran a personal-best time of 15.80 seconds in his preliminary heat. The Spring Valley senior has already earned several first-place finishes in the hurdles this season, with his most-recent win coming on Thursday, April 18, at the Prescott Invite. Bosshart crossed the finish line at 16.89 to win the event and also took first in the long jump and second in the high jump before the night was over.
Shye Klatt is the only returning member of last season's state-qualifying 4x200 team, but the senior sprinter is already off to a promising start this season. Klatt took third in the competitive 100-meter dash at the Prescott Invite after completing the race in 14.19 seconds. She'll also play a hand in leading a few sprint relays this season.
The Cardinals have also seen potential from Katherine Dieckman, Nate Fesenmaier and Brenden Williams who haven't let the weather or their limited resources get to them this spring.
The above-mentioned athletes and their teammates realize what they're signing up for when they commit to a season of track and field in Spring Valley, and track or no track, the Cardinals just want to compete.
"I think this year they'd want to run if it's snowy and 30, because there were so many meets last year that were canceled," coach Dieckman said. "I think they just want to get out there and run now."
The Cardinals will compete in Boyceville on Thursday, April 25, at 4 p.m.