Some of Drake University’s men’s and women’s track and field teams returned to campus on Jan. 9 to get ready for the upcoming spring season. After a week of practice, they were on the road to University of South Dakota to compete against University of South Dakota, South Dakota State and University of Nebraska-Omaha.
This was the first meet of the season. First-year Bria Rhodes took on her first college meet, winning the women’s 4×200.
“I felt really excited to be able to get on the track since my senior year was cut short due to COVID-19 last season,” Rhodes said.
A big factor in competing and having a season this year is the COVID-19 pandemic. Track and field team members get tested twice a week on competition weeks. Rhodes is not worried, though, because she feels well taken care of by Drake Athletics.
“I wasn’t really worried about COVID-19 because of all the precautions that were taken prior to leaving to the track such as everyone getting tested twice and wearing masks at all times,” Rhodes said.
Throughout the meet, Drake’s track and field team remained socially distanced. During warmups and in between events, runners had their masks on as well. Usually, there are up to eight runners competing in an event at the same time, but this time it was run differently; there were smaller numbers of runners in a heat at once to space the runners out and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
First-year Dylan DeAngelo was a little worried about being around other schools due to the virus.
“I was a little bit worried about COVID due to the fact that we traveled to a different location with other teams we have not been around before,” DeAngelo said. “Although, there were many precautions taken to ensure that we were able to compete safely, like how every team was required for everyone attending to take a test before we left, and each team had their own team camps separated from all the other teams, and masks were required at all times besides when you were competing.”
Rhodes enjoyed the chance to exercise her skills after waiting so long to compete.
“I got to see where my level of competition is so I can work on improving my times from my events and work on getting better,” Rhodes said. “I’m very grateful to have had the opportunity to run this weekend, can’t wait for our next meet.”
However, DeAngelo wished there had been more time to prepare.
“We only had one week of training before it, so I feel like I was not able to compete to my best ability, and also the weather conditions for the long drive were not ideal” DeAngelo said.
Next weekend Bulldog Tennis travels to Ames, Iowa to compete against Iowa State and the University of Missouri. For more information on the upcoming season, visit godrakebulldogs.com.