Bright sunshine and relatively mild temperatures blanketed the area Monday, making for ideal conditions for track and field teams to get some workouts outside.
Finally, the brutal winter of near-record snowfalls and single-digit temperatures, which tested the resolve of the community, seemed far in the past as everyone welcomed the sunny skies.
However, there were a few remnants of the winter that remained at many area track facilities.
At Rochester High, much of the spectators stands were still snow covered, as melting snow formed rivulets of water dripping down the stairs.
The throwing area was still muddy, yet girls coach Larry Adams and the crew prepped the area as best as possible to get some workouts for the girls.
But the high jumpers had to wait for another time, due to a pile of snow in front of the facility shed.
“You can’t get in our shed yet,” said Adams, “(so) we haven’t been jumping. (But) we’ve been doing a lot of weight training and simulating (jumping).”
On the track, boys coach Gary Cousino put the sprinters to the test with groups of athletes doing repeat 110-meter dashes around the curve.
“I actually have five seniors who just came out,” said Cousino, hopeful of an immediate contribution from the newcomers.
At Avondale High, girls coach Kim Kutschman, expecting a baby soon, was out with the Yellow Jackets, who were in workout mode.
Anna Haritos, a senior scholar-athlete, will be among the team leaders for Avondale.
An interruption to the season was imminent, said Kutschman, who was experiencing periodic contractions. But she said she was hopeful of returning within a week after the baby’s arrival, which could be any day now.
Meanwhile, new boys coach Shelby Johnson was getting accustomed to his crew of athletes, which includes James Saylor and Joshuwa Holloman, last year’s Division 1 state champion in the 100-meter dash. Avondale, though, will compete in Division 2 this season, so a new Division 1 state sprint champ is guaranteed.
Even so, Holloman is excited about the coming season. “We’ve got some big expectations for our team this year,” said Holloman, who has already drawn notice as a major college football recruit.