Salisbury T&F athletes look forward to next year
When the Salisbury track and field squad met in late winter for its first practice, head coach Victor DeOliveira welcomed a total of 34 new faces. Some of those new Falcon recruits showed immediate promise. Others didn’t have adequate time to show anything.
In the end, of course, whether it was underclassman or battle-tested seniors, no one had the opportunity to show or do much as the season was canceled.
“Sad and disappointed that it had to come to this,” DeOliveira said. “I feel bad for all of the athletes that were looking forward to competing, especially our seniors.”
While coronavirus proved to be too much for the season to get underway, the early March climate cooperated.
“This year’s weather allowed us to get a good jump on our training,” said the coach. “Unfortunately, the season was over before it got into full swing. The team as a whole was looking forward to an exciting season.”
DeOliveira spoke to several of his athletes by email in the cancellation’s aftermath. The consensus of their responses - accepting, but glum.
“Most of them have come to terms with the loss of our season,” he said. “Unfortunately for them, it’s only one of the things that has been taken away, especially for the seniors.”
One thing they all told DeOliveira was this: “They missed track a lot. I do as well.”
Many of the younger athletes requested the coach send individual workouts. While better than nothing, for some even that proves difficult because of their event.
“I give our athletes a lot of credit,” DeOliveira said. “They could have far worse attitudes than they do.”
The season’s cancellation impacted seniors and underclassmen differently. For example, seniors were denied their final career competitions. They also had no chance to accomplish individual records or break existing records and participate in postseason competition. The Falcon underclassmen have acquired a “can’t wait until next year” attitude. They will, however, miss a developmental step in their track careers.
Some individuals who were slated to have superiors seasons were seniors Timothy Buda in the 100- and 200-meter dashes and Shane Artis in the 1600-meter run. Two other young men who may have accomplished individual glory were Hunter Bleam in the high jump and Kyle Killiri in the shot put. Also, Jacob Ziegler and Tyson Utesch could have excelled in the pole vault.
On the girls side, Lily Schimeneck had the ability to star in the triple jump and improve on last year’s sterling postseason.
At this point, DeOliveira, his staff and his returning athletes have on their minds one collective thought.
“We are already looking forward to the next season,” he said.