Editor’s note: Since being part of a high school sports team isn’t just about competing in scheduled events, the Daily Herald is going behind the scenes and telling a little bit of the stories of our 2020 spring athletic squads here in Utah Valley. To do that, we are having team captains describe their teams, talk about favorite experiences and relate lessons learned.
When the Salem Hills track team started practicing in March, it did so with a favorite tradition.
“During the first couple of days, we have the Skyhawk Challenge where everyone tries all the different events,” Salem Hills captain Kapri Boggess said in a phone interview earlier this month. “Seeing people try throwing for the first time or try jumping, it was just funny seeing who was naturally talented at things and who was just out there for fun.”
But those moments helped the team start bonding and pushing each other.
“This squad had a lot of energy,” Boggess said. “Everyone was excited to be there, more so than in past years. Everyone worked together well.”
Fellow Skyhawk captain Isaac Barnum said the importance of the team was obvious whenever they did anything.
“Salem Hills is kind of different because we have a lot of kids come out to compete but we do it as a team,” Barnum said. “We’re one of only a couple of teams that warm up together. It may be an individual sport but we try to do our best to make everyone feel a part of the team. It’s really cool seeing our whole team running around the track.”
A track team is filled with a variety of personalities but the Skyhawks had a good time. Barnum said sprinter Keanna Vaitohi was one of the athletes whose sense of humor was valued by everyone.
“My friend Keanna Vaitohi is a really good sprinter, probably the best one we have,” Barnum said. “She can be sarcastic but she is always making everyone laugh. She’s really good to have around because she keeps everyone’s morale up.”
The good memories and laughter have been key as Salem Hills athletes have tried to stay strong during the dramatic changes that resulted from efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“It’s hard right now because we aren’t together,” Barnum said. “Each captain is put in charge of their event, so I’m mostly over the sprinters. We reach out and ask them how they feel, encouraging them to stay motivated.”
Boggess said it has been a unique challenge to lead during this time.
“It’s been different trying to think of ways to motivate my team,” Boggess said. “Captains in the past haven’t had to do things like this so I don’t have anyone to refer to. We’ve had to get outside the box. We had some of the distance runners text in photos of them running every day, which has been fun. Coach (Jen) Hughes will post photos and also post workouts for us to do by ourselves, which has been nice.”
Hughes said the track captains have made a big difference for all the athletes.
“All of our captains this year are amazing,” Hughes said. “They have really stepped up during this time to make sure everyone on the team is doing well.”
Both Barnum and Boggess have learned to value things they love even more.
“I’ve learned that you never know what is going to happen,” Barnum said. “Life throws you all sorts of curve balls and we’re meant to go through things for a reason. Right now I don’t know why I’m not able to run but I know there is some reason. I’ve learned to be patient and also to remember that although I can’t see results, keep pushing hard no matter what.”
Boggess said: “I’ve learned to enjoy where you are at while you can because you don’t know when it is going to change.”