By Joshua Bray
The suspension of contests, practices, rehearsals and workouts by the University Interscholastic League until May 4 due to the current pandemic has all high school athletes feeling the concern their season may be over for the year – or completely if a senior.
Despite this, during this hiatus, Slaton High School Tigerette track coach Rustin Klafka said that he and the team are all ready to get back on the track together.
Klafka said that before the hiatus, the Tigerettes were doing great with their times.
“We had an incredibly strong start to the season,” he said. “Our 4×100 meter relay and 4×200 meter relays are currently the fastest in the State in 3A. TK (Robinson) leads the State in 3A in the 200 meter and Xazari (Naylor) leads the State in the 100 meter.”
Klafka said that this year’s Tigerette track team is unlike any other group he’s ever coached.
“They have consistently bettered their times each season,” Klafka said. “This is largely due to their buy-in to training year in, year out for the track season. They have been committed since they were seventh graders to doing something big in track.”
A big part of the Tigerettes’ success this season can be attributed to the seniors, Klafka said. “These seniors are special. They are Kamryn Gibbs, Zanady Coronado, Xazari Naylor, Ta’kaja Robinson and Alice Cogburn. They have a drive to be great,” Klafka said. “They are willing to do anything they are asked in practice and they are more focused on their goals than any other year.”
Klafka said he coached these athletes since Junior High and has seen them grow and progress into the athletes they are today. The area that Klafka said he has seen the most growth from the Tigerettes has been in the mental side of the sport. Klafka said that the leaders of the track program are not only committed to their own growth and success but are also committed to holding their teammates accountable.
Before the hiatus, Klafka said that the team had met their time goals early on, and believes that if they keep their current pace, they will meet their current goals of earning their medals.
“Our time goals were being met early on,” Klafka said. “We set a goal time for each meet we are scheduled to run in from the start all the way to State. They were ahead on some of their events already.”
Klafka said that he and the Tigerettes look forward to getting to compete at State and hitting their goal times.
“If we do that, we will come home with a few medals,” he said.