BOZEMAN — 2020 was supposed to be a big year for the Bozeman High track and field team, but that came to a screeching halt when COVID-19 hit the U.S.
Weeks turned into months, and months turned into no spring season, but fast forward to the present day, and the Hawks were finally able to hit the track this week.
“It’s definitely disappointing to have a season cut out of my year, but at the same time, I think it was nice for me to focus on other aspects of running and still be able to train," senior Natalie McCormick said.
“I think we were all really bummed when we missed out on a season, and I think it’s just, we’re overall pretty hungry to race and compete again," senior Riley Moore added.
Both Moore and McCormick are especially hungry to compete after getting a taste of their first Class AA girls state championship in 2019.
“I think that’s always our goal, to definitely win state," McCormick said. "It’s weird because we have so many new people, but I think they’re all bringing a lot of new talent to the team and everyone is really eager to do well again.”
Another person who is eager to get the ball rolling on this track season is head coach Blaine Pederson. He took over the program last year right before the 2020 season was canceled.
"At one point the sun came out, and I just turned around and we had kids over here working, and it just felt so great that there was that little moment of we’re back, and I’m just so happy to be out here with the kids again," Pederson said.
Because of last year’s cancellation, Pederson said it’s hard to gauge where other teams sit across the state but is confident the girls can make another run at state.
"I had really high hopes for our girls team to repeat as state champs, and we still have a lot of strength on our girls side," Pederson added. "The guys can be a little harder to judge coming from their freshman and sophomore years to so many changes on the guys side. I think they all just want to get after it and be out here.”
“I think we’re all kind of in the same place right now," Bozeman senior Xander Danenhauer said. "Everyone’s hungry, but I think we have what it takes to really put ourselves forward.”