WASCO, Calif. (KERO) — This pandemic has not been easy for students and student-athletes, but members of the Wasco cross country team say they are ready to compete and to get back to what they love doing.
"We get to have our first competition, to give them that little bit of sense of normalcy,” said Omar Garcia, Cross Country Coach at Wasco High School.
Wednesday, Feb. 10 will be the first athletic event for Wasco since the start of the pandemic in March last year, and coaches have been making sure their athletes are ready.
"It's not if it's going to happen, it is when is it going to happen, and if you are prepared,” Garcia said. “Then we will be ready to go and there will be no excuses."
For the cross country team, they have been training on and off for a year, just waiting to get back to the competition.
"It feels wonderful just to look forward to something,” said Crystal Raya, Senior Captain of the team.
Raya is in her senior year and while it hasn't been a year that many were expecting, she is grateful to be able to compete in her last season.
"The feeling of knowing you're going to compete with other people, it is just like compared to no other,” she said.
Gerardo Limon is also a Senior Captain. For the past couple of months, he admits it has been difficult to stay motivated when there was no guarantee that he would compete again.
"All of those days where sometimes I wonder if it was worth it. It was worth it at the end of the day,” he said
The meet will take place at Westside Park, with spectators socially distanced and wearing masks to cheer on their athletes.
Even the runners will be wearing masks at the start and finish of the race and will be allowed to remove their masks once they are more spaced out during the race.
"You can feel it in the air with the kids they are absolutely stoked to be able to see other people compete in their sport,” said Antuenette Scruggs, Cross Country Coach of Bakersfield Christian High school.
Wasco will face off against BCHS this upcoming meet.
While COVID-19 hasn't been easy for sports, Limon wants other athletes to know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
"You know sometimes the road can seem a little, full of spikes, full of obstacles but that is what we do in cross country. We run over twigs, we run over dirt, we run over mud,” Limon said. “But what I should tell you right now is that you didn't come this far to get that far, you can keep going."
The Wasco Tigers cross country team will also be competing against Garces Memorial High School on Thursday, Feb. 11.