PONCA – Co-head coaches for a northeast Nebraska high school track & field looked back on a season that never really got a chance to start following dominant finishes to their winter sports season.
Jamie Hamar and Troy Evans lead the Ponca High School girls and boys track & field team.
Coach Hamar has coached track & field for Ponca leading the girls the past eight years and mainly works with the runners. She said they were at a unique situation with both basketball teams making it to the state tournament.
“We really hadn’t had practice yet,” said Hamar. “Because most of our kids are multiple sports athletes. So, are girls were just coming off state basketball and our boys were going to state. We had just really had only practiced with just a few of the younger ones that might have played JV or that don’t play basketball.”
Following spring break after the boys state basketball tournament in mid-March the kids were told to go home and stay in shape. A few weeks later, the season was then called off by the NSAA due to concerns of COVID-19.
Coach Hamar added it was a hard conversation to have when the time came.
“We had some upcoming freshman that had really high hopes and just excited about it,” Hamar added. “It was hard because we knew some kids that would make state and had good seasons. We were supposed to host districts at Ponca and stuff like that. So, you know big let downs when you miss things like that.”
Assistant coaches included David Christensen who has helped out before leaving for another school this year and Jesse Walsh.
Ponca graduated four senior girls (Maggie McGill, Kaci Day, Meg Keller and Kai Seneviratne) as well as three senior boys (Brandon Kneifl, Paul Masin and Evan Longwell).
Coach Troy Evans has guided the boys team since 2006 while also working with the throwers. He mentioned that track is a great gauge to show the athletes how far they can push themselves which could set the younger kids back a bit.
“If the girls and the boy’s freshmen coming in,” Evans mentioned. “Those younger kids, they come and I think they’re starting to see what the older kids and how hard they work and realize they have to work that hard. If they want to get caught up, they better keep working over the summer during this shortened time.”
Ponca student-athletes have also been able to get back into the weight room and gym earlier this month starting June 1.
Coach Evans added it’s a waiting game on what’s next.
“Things change so much,” Evans added. “minute to minute, hour to hour. So, we kind of wait and hopefully they (NSAA/Gov. Ricketts) give us a couple weeks to see if this works. And if this works, maybe they’ll kind of let us do some other things.”
During the first week of workouts, 30 – 40 boys and another 30-40 girls have been rotating in.
Visit poncaschool.org or call the school at 402-755-5700 for more information.