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
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!
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.
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!