The Prairie Home Panthers track team is looking forward to the upcoming season, with an added shot of excitement following last academic year's canceled season.
Head coach Marie Pope said her goal for the team is for the athletes to enjoy the season, especially after last season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is going to be a young team this season; Pope said more than half of the team has never competed in a high school-level track meet.
"Last year, they made it through all of the conditioning at the beginning of the season and right before our first meet of the season, COVID closed everything down," Pope said. "They worked really hard last season and so far this season. They deserve a chance to compete and enjoy their sport."
Right now, Pope said Prairie Home's field athletes are being refreshed on the different field events they will be competing in, and the whole team is working on getting in shape.
"These kids are two years out from even throwing a discus or shot put, or jumping into a pit," Pope said. "We've spent a lot of time getting the kids in shape and teaching them the basics for their events."
As the season goes along, Pope said she would like to see improvements from all of the athletes.
"Many are starting from scratch or their middle school times and distances," Pope said. "They've grown a lot in the last two years, so they ought to have a good time improving their marks."
Pope said the athletes are excited for this season, especially with how last year was canceled.
"The kids have been so excited this season," Pope said. "They wanted to compete last year, and that enthusiasm has definitely carried over into this season."
During the season, Pope said she wants to see the athletes working hard and having fun.
"Track season is always coach (Melody) Paulson and mine's favorite way to close out the year because the kids really enjoy this sport," Pope said.
Prairie Home track season schedule
April 10 - 10:30 a.m., at Russellville
April 13 - 4 p.m., at Centralia
April 15 - 4 p.m., at Westran
April 21 - 4 p.m., at Harrisburg
April 30 - 4 p.m., at Glasgow
May 8-9 - TBA, at Districts