BOONE — There isn’t a lot that Watauga track and field coach Randy McDonough can do for his pole-vaulters, long jumpers and triple jumpers in the next two weeks.
Since the suspension of all prep practices by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association took effect March 13 and lasts until April 6, McDonough is not allowed to supervise any workouts or make any facilities at Watauga High School available to the student-athletes.
McDonough has been coaching at Watauga for 28 years and coaching overall for 33 years.
“We’re breaking new ground here,” McDonough said. “I told the kids that we just have to be patient. Right now is not a good year to be an eighth-grader or a 12th grader. Eighth-grade students are missing out on graduations and the last year of their middle-school athletics and 12th graders may not get their senior season of track or baseball or whatever.”
McDonough provided Watauga’s sprinters and distance runners advice on what they can do during the time away from school.
He said the workouts won’t vary from what the athletes are already doing. They just have to find a place to do them.
“I told the kids when they first announced the end of practice that I would send them stuff to do and basically, unless they can find a place to do it, jumpers may have a hard time finding a place to work on their technique,” McDonough said. “Vaulters won’t be able to. The throwers can work on some footwork and that, but the main thing we’re doing is trying to keep them in general conditioning.”
The jumpers face the challenge of finding a place soft enough to land when jumping. Even if the surface is grass, the possibility of injury is too high to try it.
“I’m hoping they can find some soft place for landing,” McDonough said.
McDonough thought about approaching Appalachian State to borrow its jumping pits, but those, which were located in the north end zone at Kidd Brewer Stadium, have been covered by the new construction.
Appalachian State’s track season, and all spring seasons, were shut down by the Sun Belt Conference.
“They could use the track, but I don’t know if the stadium is locked up or not,” McDonough said. “I’m guessing they could use it if it were unlocked. ASU hasn’t had a place to practice their jumps since they started that building.”
McDonough added that he received an unusual response to the email he sent to the athletes outlining what their workout schedules would be.
“I got some very happy emails from parents thanking me for sending stuff out,” McDonough said. “I’m guessing they not only want their kids to have some success, but give them basically something to do to get them out of the house.”