Quincy runners warm up with a short sprint during practice at Quincy High School.

Veteran track and field coaches Whitney Gregg (girls) and Cory Medina (boys) will need their combined 22 years of experience to navigate the compressed season brought on by the COVID-19 outbreak. Both coaches are looking forward to restarting the season if practices resume on April 25.

Supported by assistant coaches Valerie Neff, Andrew Schmitt and volunteer javelin coach Gene Lillquist, the Quincy Jackrabbits look forward to practices at the new high school.

“Not only do we have a new track, but new equipment also,” Gregg said.

With 44 total athletes—22 boys and 22 girls—the Jacks may be outmanned, but not outgunned. League powerhouses Ephrata, Selah and Ellensburg can field over 100 athletes, giving them an advantage in overall team scores.

“Having a small team makes winning a dual meet tough. The good thing about track and field is we can see individual success even when team numbers are low,” Gregg said.

Senior Israel Cavazos is returning from state appearance last season in the boys 100-meter dash and will be joined by fellow seniors Carmelo Martinez, Nathan Ortiz and Isaiah Ayala. Coach Medina expects the combination of seniors supported by strong underclassmen at the distance events to make competitive relay teams.

Senior Bryn Heikes and junior Jane Kennedy lead the distance runners on the girl’s team. They hope to return to state this year, joined by seniors Daisy Buenrostro and Jacqueline Dearie in javelin and Taylor Thomsen in discus.

Both teams are supported by a promising group of underclassmen, including returning athletes Aiden Heikes in high jump and triple jump, Jalen Spence in hurdles, and Reid Thomsen and Abraham Diaz doing the heavy lifting at shotput and discus. Both Coach Medina and Gregg have several new team members they feel can make an impact.

“The effects of COVID-19 and social distancing practices are difficult for athletes. Some events, like sprinting and running, allow athletes to train on their own; whereas, throwing and jumping events are more difficult without equipment and coaching,” Gregg said.

According to the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association, practices may resume after the April 24 return to school and the season must be completed by May 30. Teams must conduct a minimum of 10 practices before competition starts. This year, a waiver on practice length allows two-a-day practices such as a strength and conditioning practice before school and sport-specific practices after school.

Individual leagues are responsible for scheduling events within this time frame. The WIAA suggests teams that do not reach state competition continue to schedule events up to the April 30 deadline.

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