SSN: Annabelle Willard Athlete Feature

Jamie Whitesell

Finding a New Normal

Coping with high school athletics through a pandemic


There is nothing but black track and green turf held within the confines of a high school football stadium. Spring is right around the corner and the girls track team is preparing for yet another stellar season. Some spectators may view track as an individual sport but for the HSE Lady Royals track team, that is not the case.

Athletics at Hamilton Southeastern High School lie on the line of excellence and competition. Coaches at HSE push their athletes to be the best, so when a pandemic stops those athletes from doing what they love, a wave of emotions falls over a young group of kids.

Conditioning for track is a year-round event due to the complexity of what goes on within a meet. There are field events which consist of throwing and jumping, as well as track events which contain: sprints, hurdles, long distance races and team relays. With so much going on, coaches need to make sure their athletes are in the best shape that they can be, even through a pandemic.

“I had motivation to run and workout because of [track conditioning],” sophomore Annabelle Willard said. “The coaches set up workouts for us, which was always easier for me to focus on.”

Without a strict schedule, any athlete or person can fall out of their routine causing their body to be fatigued. Adhering to a workout schedule can help maintain balance and exercise in someone’s life.

“In quarantine, I have located workout videos to increase muscle mass,” Willard said. “[I try to] do these workouts twice a day if possible.”

Having this steadfast mindset to build up strength has helped Willard set high expectations for herself in her athletic career next year.

“I hope to make [the varsity golf team] and shoot under 80,” Willard said. “[In track,] I hope to make the varsity team and get as close as possible to running 400 meters in under one minute.”

Even though there is not set end date in sight for this pandemic, Willard is pushing herself every day to be a better athlete than the day before.