‘I wanted some closure’: Senior track athletes cope with loss of season | SteamboatToday.com

‘I wanted some closure’: Senior track athletes cope with loss of season

Steamboat Springs junior Maggi Congdon races to the finish of the 4x800-meter relay during the 2019 state track meet on at Jefferson County Stadium.
File photo

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — When the Colorado High School Activities Association officially canceled spring sports, Steamboat Springs High School senior track athlete Maggi Congdon sat down to write. Putting her stream of consciousness on paper, she churned out four pages. She wrote one section to her coaches, another to her teammates, one to the sport itself, and the last to herself. It was published by Colorado Milesplit. 

She thanked running for making her into the athlete and person she is now, her coaches for the endless support and her teammates for three and a half years of laughter. 

“For me, when I have a lot on my mind, it’s easier for me to write,” said Congdon. “I’ve never been the kind of person who talks about that kind of thing, necessarily, a lot. It’s easier for me to express exactly how I’m feeling through writing rather than through speaking. I wanted some type of closure just to put some sort of end to the season since we didn’t have the state meet do that.”

Congdon is one of many seniors on the Sailors track team that have been managing their emotions since learning they wouldn’t be competing this year. 

Helping them through it is head coach Lisa Renee Tumminello and a small handful of assistant coaches that still post workouts and reach out to the athletes frequently.

“The coaches have really supported us through this process, which is really nice because some teams aren’t doing training or practices during this time,” said senior Annemarie Hackworthy. “It’s really nice to have that to do. They’ve been reaching out, supporting us. If someone has an ache and pain, they’ll give you a different training routine. They’ve just been really supportive.”

Hackworthy was mostly a jumper on the team and dabbled in some distance running, while Congdon was a distance runner, winning the 3A 800- and 1,600-meter races in 2018. That same year, she also aided in breaking the school record in the 4×800 relay, which she named as her proudest moment of her track career. 

Congdon will continue running cross country and track at Northern Arizona University next year, so she’s been holding on to that to help her through it. Hackworthy is done with track, but is working to stay fit ahead of starting the Air Force ROTC program at Notre Dame next fall. To stay sane and focused, she’s been running and biking and working out in a home gym. In her hunt for physical activity, she’s also rediscovered a hobby: rollerblading. 

“When I lived back in the Midwest, we used to go to roller rinks for fundraisers and birthday parties, and I used to be a competitive figure skater,” said Hackworthy. “Rollerblading is just kind of fun and gets me out of the house, I go on the (Yampa Valley) Core Trail and get some sun. It’s also a surprisingly good workout.”

Of all the things they could miss about their senior season, Hackworthy and Congdon said the same thing: the bus rides.

“The first bus ride, I feel like it’s such a turning point for the track team,” said Hackworthy. “It’s when all the new athletes get a feel of who the Steamboat Springs track team really is and what we’re about. How we value character and community over anything else. Over athleticism, over ability, over age. It’s always about character and creating that community.”

Track and field is so individualized for many of the athletes, aside from relays, but the team is still what makes each athlete keep coming back.

“That was what made it the most fun. Just being with the team every day and the coaches too,” said Congdon. “I’m running in college, so of course I wish I could have gotten to compete this season, but I have plenty of running left. It’s not going to be with the same team. I’m going to really miss the team.”

To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.

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