EWU track looks back over the year

By Randle Kinswa, Co-Managing Editor/Sports Editor

Just like every other sports program at EWU, the Track and Field program has had to follow COVID protocols, and have had a change in the structure of their daily routine.

Yet, since COVID-19 showed up on the west coast 14 months ago, some programs were able to delay, or even condense their season, like the football program. 

But, since Track and Field is ultimately played in the Spring, their 2020 spring campaign was never made up.

However, the players on teams affiliated with the NCAA, were granted an extra year of eligibility due to COVID-19 taking away an entire season for some sports like Track and Field. 

Zack Klobutcher, a sophomore Pole Vaulter, said the team’s dynamic became much closer during the COVID-19 fallout.

“I think we’ve all gotten a lot closer,” Klobutcher said. “That’s really the only social interaction we’ve had besides our families.”

Klobuthcer also would point out that last year he was a freshman that was new to the team and new to EWU, but the last year has actually helped him form tight bonds with some of his teammates. 

“I’m going to be honest, I’m not the strongest one out there,” Klobutcher said. “I wasn’t lifting a whole lot [before] … I’ve gotten a lot better in the weightroom.”

EWU senior Keshun McGee won the triple jump at last year’s Big Sky Indoor Championships. (Mckenzie Ford)

Senior Parker Bowden is ranked number one in the Big Sky conference for 100 meter hurdles, and owns the EWU school record for 100 meter hurdles. 

“There was just so much uncertainty last year,” Bowden said. “Especially for us older guys … if even we would be able to finish our careers … and for the incoming Freshman who didn’t have their last high school season.”

Bowden said the team has done a great job of following COVID protocols, but he said they do miss being able to use their lockers and practicing as a team. He also said he feels good about the direction of the program this year, and for the years to come.   

“I am optimistic not only about this year, but for some years to come,” Bowden said.

Colton Kautz, a junior thrower, just breached the 200 foot mark for the hammer throw last Wednesday. 

“Even leading up to that first week it didn’t feel like it was going to happen,” Kautz said. “On the bus ride down there it didn’t feel real … getting to step onto the field was so surreal.” 

Kautz echoed what Klobutcher said earlier, when he said that the team has gotten a lot closer in the last year. He said he is also very optimistic this week. 

The EWU track team’s next meet will be the Big Sky’s national championship on May 12-15, in Ogden, Utah.