Senior athletes never had the opportunity to deliver the clutch hit, serve up an ace, out jump, out throw or cross the finish line ahead of the competition because of the spring sports cancellation.
Therefore, athletes had to find different ways to continue playing the sports they love before moving on to college.
Summer leagues are a dime a dozen for baseball and softball. Tennis players can battle in tournament championships. But it is not so simple for track and field standouts.
Emily Coddington, a North Star senior, who runs in a co-op with Shade, was looking forward to her senior season. And rightfully so. The Panthers were the defending WestPAC and District 5 champs. Coddington was eyeing a return trip to Shippensburg for states.
However, those goals were dashed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Yet, an opportunity arose for Coddington to get back on the track again and race competitively.
Coddington, who logs her summer miles on athletic.net, received a link for a Virtual Nationals meet being conducted by the National Scholastic Athletics Foundation x AthleticNet.
To qualify for the Virtual Nationals, each runner had to complete three races and be within the top 50 in the respective race.
Coddington qualified in the 800 and 1600 meters. She ran both Virtual National races last Wednesday at Conemaugh Township High School. Coddington finished 23rd in the 800 and 27th in the 1600.
Coddington went into this whole process with an open mind and made the most out of it.
“My times could have been a lot faster, but I haven’t been training to race, just doing my summer miles getting ready for cross country,” Coddington said. I did it looking to have some fun and to see what could happen.”
Though the times weren’t up to her standards, the experience helped Coddington prepare for the collegiate level, where she will run both cross country and track at Division II Tusculum University in Tusculum, Tennessee.
“In my mind, I thought for me it would make me stronger as a runner to keep running,” Coddington said of why she tried to qualify for the Virtual Nationals. “Since I didn’t have a coach, I didn’t train right, I just went out and did it.”
Having competed in so many big races throughout her high school career, it was a change racing without someone on her heels.
“It was really different and a lot harder,” Coddington said. “Mentally, I had to become stronger to get myself to do this because track season was canceled. The races went well but they were a lot different.”
These offseason races have Coddington eager to run at the next level.
“They have set me up good for college,” Coddington said. “They have helped me, especially in the mental aspect. I think that will be great for my future as a runner.”