Track season canceled due to COVID complications

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Nacala Williams

For the third season in a row, Wilson’s track season has been canceled. The Prince George’s County Sports & Learning Complex is being used as a COVID-testing and vaccination site instead of its typical role of hosting DCSAA and DCIAA meets. 

During winter break, it was revealed that an indoor season would not take place. Wilson’s track team was upset because their season was taken yet again. Senior Jahari Miller said, “We were like, ‘all this work we put in to not have DCIAA states.’ It’s crazy,” Miller is able to compete outside of Wilson because he runs AAU track, which is a travel league within the Amature Atheltic Union. 

Coaches have also expressed their disappointment and frustration. Head coach Tia Clemmons explained, “our season did not get canceled until it got started.” Other indoor sports can have an official season, but the track team is not allowed to. 

Racing is an integral aspect of the track and field program; it helps keep athletes in top shape. Since finding meets outside the city is more expensive, the season’s cancellation especially impacts seniors aiming to run in college. “There are less opportunities to showcase your talent,” Miller said. Collegiate programs require athletes to run certain times, and when students do not have the chance to compete in official races, their opportunities are limited. 

The Wilson track coaches are continuing to coach this season, despite not getting paid for it. “We are not in it for the money. We do it for the love of the sport and the betterment of our athletes,” Clemmons said. The team is making an effort to carry on like it is a regular season. Regular practices are occurring and do their best to simulate track meets.

 The “Polar Bear” meet allowed Wilson track team members to compete against each other, replicating a regular meet. Athletes put their uniforms on and ran their indoor event outside. The coaching staff is still trying to give their athletes a chance to run at indoor meets. Some meets are “open,” meaning you can register unattached from a school and run as an individual. However, these meets are limited because most meets are sanctioned high school meets.

Clemmons attempted to have a scrimmage with two other high schools—McKinley Tech and Dunbar. The proposed outdoor meet at Dunbar was blocked because it was not cleared through the DCIAA office and concerns about COVID safety. However, DCIAA teams can compete indoors at other locations outside of the PG Sports and Learning Complex and can compete against one another at non-DCPS locations.

Despite the heartbreaking news, the Wilson track team is hopeful that an outdoor season will still occur, but everything is up in the air. •