By Evan Anderson and Sydney Stump, The Whetstone
One of the many challenges getting ready for the season for junior track athlete Roland Attoh-Okine is the limited amount of time he is allowed in the weight room.
“We get bullied out,” he said. “The other teams will take over all the equipment and there’s nothing really left for us.”
Throughout the winter, indoor season, the track team practices in small gyms in Wesley West or at the abandoned Blue Hen Mall. During the spring outdoor season, it isn’t as challenging finding a place to run. The team practices at the old Dover High School track that they also share with other schools, including Dover Middle School. Despite the lack of facilities and weight room time, the Wesley Track team is a consistent winner.
“You have to be creative,” head coach Stephen Kimes said. “It’s all about pushing through and working hard no matter the condition.”
Although the athletes of the track team know it doesn’t depend on the materials they have in order to succeed, they still said they would like things to change at Wesley.
“I have been here for four years now and ever since the first year, it has all been the same with training,” senior runner DaJahn Lowery said. “We aren’t complaining, though, just some stuff gets old. I just want to help the kids that come in the future.”
One of the major problems the athletes run into is limited time in the weight room.
“As a thrower, I should be in the weight room four times a week,” sophomore Jourdyn Beverly said. “I only get in there two days out of the week because football is always in there. For the teams that aren’t even in season, they get the weight room before we do and it’s just not fair.”
The team manages to get into the weight room at times but it’s usually only in the mornings.
“It’s true that we don’t get enough time in the weight room,” Lowery said. “Right now, we lift at 6 a.m. and it’s not easy getting up all the time to do that. Sometimes we have to practice in the morning and then, with class on top of it, it makes us exhausted.”
It’s also challenging to commute to the different places the team practices, especially when it’s to the Blue Hen Mall on the other side of town.
“Practicing at the abandoned mall gets challenging, everyone trying to find rides to the building gets tough,” Attoh-Okine said.
“It’s more challenging in the indoor season to practice,” Kimes said. “We either have to fit everyone in the gym or travel to the Blue Hen Mall. However, we always figure out a way.”
During outdoor season, the team is able to use old Dover High School track, but there’s still a few challenges that come along with it.
“The only thing that’s challenging about going to the Dover track is, it’s not like it’s near Wesley West.” Beverly said. “It’s not really walking distance. Plus, we still have to share it with the middle school team.”
For some of the athletes on the track team, it’s not so much about the stuff they don’t have, but the recognition they don’t get.
“We get a little bit of recognition, but we should definitely get a lot more,” Lowery said. “We just won a national championship last year and most people don’t even know about it.”
The track team has ten All-Americans this year, four women and six men.
“The team has an impressive amount of All-Americans, and most people at Wesley don’t even know,” Beverley said. “Football is bigger at this school, so that takes away from other sports.”
Team members said they set all their disadvantages behind them as they prepare for their 2017 outdoor season.
“My main goal for them is to stay dedicated and stay healthy,” Kimes said. “If we do that, our goals of qualifying for nationals will come easily.”
Athletes said they want to improve individually as well as contribute to the team goal of making nationals.
“I hope to defend my title as an All-American as well as improve in my events,” Attoh-Okine said. “Making nationals is always a long-term goal as well.”
Junior Joseph Crenshaw said he wants to improve his health and break records.
“I’m looking to improve my sprint times and break my own personal records that I set in previous years,” he said.
The team also said it hopes to see changes at Wesley.
“I would rather see an activities center than an outdoor track,” Kimes said. “Something for the whole school to use. Something that would include an indoor track, basketball courts, and another weight room.”
“I feel like it would benefit us because we would actually have a place to work out,” Lowery said. “We wouldn’t have to search around for places to train and run.”
Because it’s hard to find places to run during the winter, the majority of athletes said they would like to see an indoor track.
“I would rather have the College build an indoor track because we already have an outdoor track that we can use.” Crenshaw said.
Either way, they will be successful.
“If we end up not getting a new facility, then we are still going to be a successful team,” Lowery said.