N.C. Central University’s track team has already had to adjust to COVID-19. Now, they have to adjust to the winter indoor track season being canceled.
“We don’t even have a season at this point due to COVID-19 and that can potentially have a drastic effect on us,” said Kenedi Curtis, who runs the 400 meters and the 800 meters.
Curtis, a junior from Greensboro, explained that the indoor season typically starts in December but since the indoor season is canceled players were allowed to go home for Thanksgiving and return in January.
“I’m just going to keep training like the season was never canceled,” N.C. Central middle-distance runner Ariana Harrell said. “It’s all I can do.”
Harrell, a sophomore from Pemberton, N.J., explained that their 2020 spring outdoor season was canceled due to COVID-19 as well which means they will be going on a year without any competitive races.
“Last spring, we didn’t have a season so essentially we won’t be competing for a year,” Harrell said.
Harrell and Curtis, both cross-country runners, explained that their cross-country season was canceled as well.
Harrell said that for her to get better as a runner she has to run at a “competitive race pace” and since there aren’t any meets coming up it could potentially stunt her growth as an athlete.
Curtis said the last time their season got canceled due to COVID-19 she became a little depressed and lost motivation to train. However, she said this time around she plans to stay “focused and optimistic.”
Curtis said her team had to go through COVID-19 protocols to practice for the indoor track season which made the news even more disappointing.
“We can’t practice as a team anymore, we get tested every other week, and the weight lifting facility only allows a certain amount of people in it at a time,” Curtis said.
Harrell said that she adjusted well to the COVID-19 protocol and will continue to follow the direction their coaches give her.
“I was able to hop on board easily with the COVID-19 protocols. My biggest issue right now is not being able to compete,” Harrell said.
Senior Taelor Ferguson, N.C. Central triple-jump participant, had a different outlook on the season cancellation.
Ferguson, a Charlotte native, said that although she was disappointed there is some positivity in the situation. She explained that she will now have more time to focus on graduating and opportunities that will help her after graduation.
“It was very upsetting but I’m a graduating senior so at least this will give me time to focus on school and internship opportunities,” Ferguson said.
Curtis explained that in January N.C. Central’s track team will resume practicing for a hopeful 2021 spring outdoor season.
“We still have to practice,” Curtis said. “Any athlete would ask the question, ‘Why am I practicing if each season is going to continue to be canceled?’”
Harrell said that she hoped that the indoor season would be the season she would be able to practice with her full team because it is important to build camaraderie within the team.
“I wished the indoor season would allow us to practice as a team because without that it’ll be hard for us to build team chemistry,” Harrell said. “Right now, we practice by events.”
Curtis, Harrell, and Ferguson all used the term “weird” when describing how they felt about the uncertainty of the future of the 2021 spring outdoor season. However, they said they hope things will be different come spring. Harrell said that no matter what she is going to stay positive and grateful.
“I’m just going to make the best out of the situation we have,” Harrell said. “I’m just thankful that I’m here and God kept me on this earth.”