The new COVID-19 outbreak has altered the sports world to become nothing but chaos and rather nonexistent. Amid all of the uncertainty, Maryville track and field coach Rodney Bade is not letting it change his plan for this season.
“We’re allowed to have practice, so we’re going to continue practice,” Bade said. “I’m not worried about getting a high jumper to get their steps perfect by the end of the week because I don’t know when our first meet is going to be.”
Maryville’s first meet was canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak, and Bade is on alert to hear if cancellations will continue. He said the team will have to keep training and working on fundamentals until competition is confirmed to start.
Bade is entering his first year at the helm of the Spoofhound track and field program but isn’t a new face to Maryville High School. He has been the cross country coach for the last five seasons and assistant track coach for the last three years.
Specializing in distance events, Bade has coached seniors who ran cross country all four years and said he would hate to see this season taken from them.
“It’d be a shame. It’d be heartbreaking,” Bade said. “I’ve got a couple seniors who have put a lot of stock in this season. If things get canceled, my heart is going to break for them.”
With the cancellation of all NCAA spring championships and, more recently, MSHSAA state basketball championships, the high school spring season is in jeopardy. However, Bade quickly prioritized public health over the need to race.
Facing an unorthodox start to the season, the ’Hounds look to returning veterans to push through adversity.
On the boys side, Maryville returns five athletes who competed at the 2019 Class 3 State Championships. Senior Carson Pistole earned all-state honors with an eighth-place finish in the long jump. Junior Garret Dumke also earned all-state honors with a sixth-place finish in the 3,200-meter run and a fourth-place finish as part of the 4-x-800 meter relay along with seniors Zachary Kizer and Brandon Auffert.
“We’ve won our conference meet three years in a row,” Bade said. “To win that fourth in a row would be huge. That would be a nice cherry on top.”
For the girls, no athletes qualified to compete at the state meet. This year, Bade is optimistic about the number of girls he can use in each event. He is looking towards a diverse team in order to score points where they’re needed.
“On the girls side, our numbers are pretty good,” Bade said. “I don’t have any huge expectations for them other than to stay happy and healthy. If that’s the case, they will run well and compete well.”
A high school track and field season is a short, three-month period that allows little room for time off. If MSHSAA follows the same protocols it has been with the other activities it governs, Bade’s first season as head coach could be even shorter than scheduled.
On March 16, MSHSAA released a statement saying that no spring sports championships will be canceled. MSHSAA will be in constant communication with state and local officials regarding the scheduling of championships. So as long as Maryville is still in session as a district, it is up to the school to determine if the ’Hounds continue to practice and compete.
Until then, Bade and his Spoofhounds will keep running and “hope everything calms down,” he said.