Monday, April 12, 2021

Track and field team ready to face the unexpected

For the Eagle | March 24, 2021 2:45 AM

Bigfork High School’s track teams will be facing a number of challenges this season as they take the field for the first time since competing at the state meet in 2019.

The Valkyries were seventh at the 2019 state meet while the Vikings earned 15th, but head coach Sue Loeffler says she isn’t quite sure what to expect from this year’s teams.

“I think we can be pretty decent in every event this year, but the trouble right now is trying to learn what we have after losing a whole season,” she said. “I don’t know my sophomores or my freshmen, and there is a lot of talent in those two groups. Some of them are not even sure what events they want to do yet, so it is just going to take time to get that figured out. We definitely have some catching up to do.”

With 38 boys and 34 girls at practice already, Loeffler says she is happy with the turnout this season, but is still hoping to see a few more join the team as the Vikings and Valkyries look to open the season with their home meet April 3.

The team was set to open the season with the Eureka Starter Meet this weekend, but spring break will leave most Bigfork athletes without enough practice time to qualify for the meet.

With the new restrictions put in place by the Montana High School Association this season in the hopes of preventing the spread of COVID-19, Loeffler says the team’s schedule will be constantly shifting this year.

“Being outside is helpful, and the kids are constantly moving,” she said. “We are going to be as careful as possible, but we want to be able to have a track season this year.”

The new restrictions include limiting the number of competitors allowed in each event with as few as four allowed from each school at larger meets. Loeffler says the new restrictions will make it tough to learn more about her younger athletes that she has never seen compete, but may lead to Bigfork being able to host additional meets this season as teams scramble to find smaller meets.

No matter what the season brings, Loeffler is just happy to be back on the track.

“At least we are getting to have a season,” she said. “That’s what I keep telling the kids. We are going to be able to compete and we will work around whatever challenges come our way.”