The West Central Area track and field team had six seniors they were expecting to lean on this year before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the spring season.

Taylah Schroeder, Devin Stone, Kaylyn Ulrich, Jacob Bright, Jack Van Kempen and Teagan Nelson had hopes of helping the Knights in a huge Section 6A field that includes 27 programs.

With the season being canceled due to the pandemic, the Echo Press reached out to each of the WCA seniors as a way to recognize them. This story centers around four questions for the athletes who responded: Why do they compete in track and field? What do they miss most about it this spring? What is a favorite memory from competing? What are their future plans after high school, and do they plan on competing again?

Jack Van Kempen

Jack Van Kempen
Jack Van Kempen

Newsletter signup for email alerts

Why he competes: Track and field was a solid option of a sport that provided me with the opportunity to be involved as a team, as well as focus on improving myself as an individual. Being in cross country in the fall, track was a great way to keep building speed and strength to prepare. I also played a little golf for two years, but realized my true potential was on the track.

What he misses most: I miss getting to be on a team and traveling to meets all over the place. What I’ll miss most is my long-distance running buddies. We’ve been running together for about five years and we’ve had such a blast together, so it’s sad to see that come to an end.

Favorite memory: Oh boy, I’ve made lots of memories, so picking out one is kinda tough. Last year, we had a great time doing the 4x4 relay. Most of the team would go home and myself and the three other long-distance guys would be forced to run the 4x4. Often, we were exhausted from running the 800, 1,600, and 3,200, but we always got a kick out of it, even if we didn’t do well.

Future plans: Next year, I’ll (hopefully) be going to the University of Minnesota-Duluth to study engineering. I’ll be on the cross country and track team up there, and I’m super excited. Go Bulldogs!

Jacob Bright

Jacob Bright
Jacob Bright

Why he competes: I compete in track and field because I believe it brings out the best in me. It has pushed me to develop a good work ethic.

What he misses most: I will miss hanging out with my distance teammates that I have ran with for the past five years. I will also miss competing against kids that I have ran against for a long time.

Favorite memory: My favorite memory would be the state cross country meet my senior year. The energy was crazy and it was such a fun race.

Future plans: I plan to attend North Dakota State University and run on their cross country and track teams. I do not know what I am going to major in yet.

Teagan Nelson

Teagan Nelson
Teagan Nelson

Why she competes: I got hit by a softball once and decided that was a no go. Track helped prepare me for cross country, and I liked to get to know all the athletes from other schools.

What she misses most: I miss going on runs with the underclassmen distance runners and napping while waiting for the 2 mile at the end of meets.

Favorite memory: Running in lane two next to Ella Van Kempen every single race.

Future plans: I plan to attend Augustana University in Sioux Falls, S.D. I’m unsure if I will compete in track and field, but I will definitely run whenever I get the chance!