SWOSU Cross Country and Track and Field Update with Coach Jennifer Johnson
Updated: Sep 13
By Greydon Buhlig
The SWOSU Cross Country and Track and Field teams saw their seasons both canceled and postponed. The cross country season this fall is postponed indefinitely, and the track team saw their 2020 season canceled in the spring due to COVID-19. Talking with coach Jennifer Johnson, she said that her athletes were disappointed, but willing to work through the quarantine.
“The freshman did get a little taste of competition, [with indoor competitions]… but it was a kick in the face that we weren’t able to compete in the 2020 season,” said coach Johnson as she talked about her track team and how they handled the situation. She said that her team got creative with how they prepared over the lock down and quarantine.
“Track and cross country,” said Johnson, “we probably have the most lenient sport when it comes to creativity. We can get pretty creative when it comes to training for running. Other sports were at a disadvantage once all the gyms closed… but we can do plenty of body weight and at-home workouts. Especially distance. One of the only times I left [home] was to go run.”
The GAC canceled all fall sports, which includes cross country. Johnson said that the officials and athletic directors are working to potentially have a spring season. She said that it isn’t official and it is a small topic of discussion, but it does give a glimmer of hope to her athletes and other fall sport athletes.
“I for sure think that the GAC officials are doing the best they can. This is a new era for all of us, the GAC higher ups included. Nobody has been in this position before,” were Johnson’s words on how the GAC handled this situation. Remember, the Great American Conference was the last division two conference in the country to postpone all fall sports. Johnson believes that it is admirable that the GAC held out till the last moment to try and give the student athletes a chance to compete.
Something that the SWOSU Cross Country and Track teams are doing while not being able to compete is running across the country. Yes, the whole continental U.S., virtually, of course. Johnson said that her teams have ran from Long Beach, CA to somewhere between Las Vegas, NV and Flagstaff, AZ.
“Instead of working out for a season that may or may not happen next semester, this gave them the opportunity to reach small goals along the way.” Johnson spoke about how her team even had a game night to celebrate a goal in which they achieved when they reached Las Vegas. It is a SWOSU event, just to give her team a little more motivation to continue to prepare for next season. “It is really just to give them something to do as long as we are together.”
“That will be a huge step back to normal. I’ll be happy enough about that,” were Johnson’s thoughts on the 2021 season. “I am sure it is the same way for all sports, just to get back with our competitors.”