STM track and field coach reflects on lost season
RAPID CITY, S.D. – In early April, Governor Kristi Noem ordered schools closed for the rest of the year, extinguishing any hope that high school sports would resume later this spring.
So like many athletic squads, the St. Thomas More track and field team is unable to defend its state title and left wondering what might have been.
The STM track team had high expectations this year.
The Lady Cavaliers were looking to win their sixth straight state title, while the St. Thomas More boys were hoping to capture their fifth championship in the last six years.
“Especially on the girls side because we really didn’t lose anybody and actually gained a few new kids,” St. Thomas More head track coach Scott Benson said. “The boys were going to be strong again. So we fully expected to be there in the end this year.”
Coach Benson was looking forward to one last ride with his seniors.
“To see those kids and all that hard work be lost, it’s just really hard,” Benson said. “You feel for them. I can’t imagine being in their situation. I really feel for a kid like Jacob Hyde that was more than likely going to move on this year to become if not the best sprinter in South Dakota history, one of the best. And now to not have that opportunity, It’s very difficult as a coach.”
Not having the opportunity to defend their state titles is a tough reality.
But coach Benson says its important to focus on the future.
“I’ve tried to speak with each of them and where do we go from here?” Benson saind. “How do we use this as a learning experience? What’s the takeaway from it? That’s a real hard thing to address right now because the emotion is fresh and its very painful.”
Coach Benson is hopeful that some of his athletes can compete this summer at a USA Track and Field event.