Things had been been off to a pretty good start for the 2020 Flanagan-Cornell/Woodland track and field team.
Numbers were up, the team was self-driven to improve, and its returning state qualifier was off to a strong start.
Then — like all spring sports and much else during this COVID-19 pandemic — it came to a screeching halt.
Still, FCW coach Lucas Mays is optimistic his Falcons can do some great things if given the chance.
"We'd only done one indoor meet, and even then it wasn't the full team, just (returning state qualifier) Kyle Uhl. Otherwise we had three weeks of practice, and that's it," said Mays. "We were going to do an indoor meet at (Illinois) Wesleyan (University), but Wesleyan shut down, and that was it for us.
"But we have 23 total out, which is a bit of an increase from last year. I was happy to see that, and I was excited we had such a large freshman turnout."
Uhl returns for his junior season after qualifying for Class 1A state in the shot put a year ago.
"Kyle this year is as excellent as he was last year," Mays said. "I was really looking forward to seeing him progress. Seeing him go toe-to-toe with (large-school throwers at the season-opening indoor invitational) right off the bat was impressive."
Mays also cited athletes such as Flanagan-Cornell freshmen Ethan Kane (100, 400 relay, 100 hurdles), Jarod Chmiel (100, 400 relay, 100 hurdles), Nolan Deats (200, 400) and Jase Torrez (shot put, discus) , juniors Mason Walsberg (400, 800) and Gabe Montello (200), and seniors Austin Barnes (1600) and Mason Grace (800, 1600) as athletes to keep an eye out for, as well as Woodland team members Uhl (shot put), Phoenix Cooper (discus) and Cameron Kissell (200).
On the girls side, Mays seems especially excited at the prospects of his 400 relay team featuring sophomores Lilia Mascote (also 110 hurdles) and Aniya Maxon (also 100, 200) alongside senior newcomer and proven athlete Regan Reed (also 100) and either junior Kaleigh White (also 400, 800) or freshman Tomi Ross (also 100).
"We actually had a relay for the 4x100 this year ... and I was really looking forward to seeing them compete, because in practice they were doing an excellent job and meshing really well," said Mays.
Also out for the Lady Falcons are FCHS seniors Tianna Green (shot put) and Hannah Dunahee (200), sophomores Dakota Wiechmann (1600, 3200) and Paige McDonald (1600, 3200), and freshmen Kayli Brooke (400, 800) and Sabrina Ayco (1600).
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