By Ada Wang

Staff Writer

Photo of Hammond Track, by Wayne Low

As the cross country season comes to a close, some of the members of the team and coaches about this unprecedented season have described how COVID-19 has created new challenges for many high school sports teams.

Mr. Kosisky, a coach with Hammond’s cross country team, discussed some of the challenges, saying that, “The most significant changes and challenges would be preparation, weather, and health concerns due to the pandemic. For example, paying attention to the student’s well-being is more important than ever. We have some athletes that have been running during the pandemic and we had athletes that were not running. We also had some athletes that did not want to join the team this season due to COVID, which we understand. It has been different trying to bring a team together in a short amount of time. However, the students have been awesome and dedicated.” 

In addition, Mr. Kosisky mentioned changes with this season compared to previous ones, stating that some of the key points are “keeping a mask on as often as possible for health/safety, cleaning any equipment, and making sure we organize practice in a way that is safe and minimizes any risk.” And it has most definitely become more of a common practice during this pandemic for everything to be constantly sanitized and cleaned to ensure the safety of our athletes and our community. 

According to Coach Kosisky, “the season overall is going awesome. While it has felt different because of COVID, the student athletes have been engaged, enjoying, and participating, and are glad to be around their fellow Golden Bears. While being as safe as we can, it has been a positive experience.”

For senior Marie Pejcic, the biggest change from this year from previous seasons “…is that we don’t have invitationals or state competitions.” But she emphasizes the camaraderie in the cross country team and the motivation is still unwavering. Marie has high hopes for cross country next year and would love to see more girls on the team, she also looks forward to always being around for her cross country family. 

“This season, you have a race with at least 6 other teams, and you are scored based on what place your runners come in during the race. Hammond has not won a race, but has been competitive and this has allowed the athletes to further push themselves and think about where they can improve,” Mr. Kosisky explains. 

There have been changes and challenges with COVID-19 but it seems the cross country team has been doing good under the circumstances and they are looking forward to next season and having new members.