The Lost Season

Friday, May 15, 2020
(Sentinel Photos by Allen Hamil) Le Mars Community had 10 senior girls who hoped to take to the track this spring for their final high school season. Instead, the COVID-19 pandemic meant the shutdown of the season. Emily Carlson and Kady Leusink were two of the members hoping to return to state this year after qualifying in events a season ago.

LE MARS — The spring sports seasons were cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving athletes and coaches disappointed for what could have been. For seniors though, it was even worse as it was their last chance to compete in those sports at the high school level, and maybe, for the rest of their lives.

Le Mars Community Girls Track and Field Coach Tami Dunn was holding out hope that the season would remain just delayed and not fully cancelled.

“I was holding out hope that we could at least have a modified season,” Dunn said. “So to hear the decision was painful. I understand the reasoning, it’s just disappointing.”

The Lady Bulldogs qualified seven events for state last season and were returning several athletes from those events. Out of their 10 senior athletes on the team, seven had returning state qualifying experience.

“This senior class was one of the finest groups I have had the pleasure of coaching,” Dunn said. “They have been disciplined, selfless leaders both on and off the field. They would have made an impact on the younger kids coming up and that type of influence is immeasurable from a coaching perspective. They will always be legends in my mind.”

Included in that group was Chloe Calhoun. She was looking to make her fourth state track appearance after accomplishing the feat in cross country in the fall.

“It is hard to believe that I will never compete as a Bulldog again,” Calhoun said. “It was hard news to hear that the season was over because I started training for track the day after cross country ended. I am sad that I will not have the opportunity to potentially compete in my fourth state track meet. It was one of my goals coming into high school to qualify for state cross country and state track all four years. I had lofty goals for the season and it was difficult not to see them through. However, I will always have the memories that track has provided me, starting with Puppy Relays in grade school and including the lasting friendships with teammates.”

Coach Adam Moss worked with the long distance runners and also previously coached the girls in cross country and had plenty of nice words for Calhoun, Paige Washburn, Sarah Meis and Kara Albrecht.

“Chloe’s talent and work ethic are legendary. There are very few athletes that can post competitive times in events ranging from 200m all the way to 3000m,” Moss said. “Kara is the runner always asking for another rep, more miles, or a harder workout in practice. She has never met a challenge she didn’t like or didn’t accept. Sarah could always be counted on to do whatever the team needed. Her steady personality and approach to competition was a reliable anchor for the team. Paige has consistently been one of the most dedicated team members throughout her career. She sometimes had to wait for her time in the spotlight, but kept working when others would have quit.”

Washburn said it was disappointing to not be able to see what the team could have accomplished this year.

“Track has been a huge aspect of my life for the past four years,” Washburn said. “I wish I could have witnessed the accomplishments made by the 2020 track team as well as been able to run on the new track.”

The Le Mars Community track and field teams were unable to run at their own track last season because of construction at Jim Lorenzen Field and now will miss out on their senior season which means the last time the seniors competed at home was during their sophomore year.

Emily Carlson was a returning member of the state 4x200 and 4x400 teams while Kady Leusink was back from last year’s state shuttle hurdle team. The team’s other senior with state experience was Jordyn Davison.

“Emily’s intensity is a bit intimidating. She doesn’t mean for it to be, but she is serious about her level of competition and wants others to be as well,” Dunn said. “Kady is a quiet, kind leader. She is determined to be her best in any situation and leads others to greatness. Jordyn was not afraid to try new events to help the team to score points, she was willing to be placed in events that were hard but would do it with a great attitude and effort.”

Dunn added even those who didn’t make state had an impact on the team and praised Sam Orban, Shaunna Schietler and Harlie Bates for their dedication to the program.

“Harlie is involved in many activities but she was always putting forth the time and energy to become a better thrower and she was willing to take the younger throwers under her wing to help them,” Dunn said. “Shaunna has a circulation issue and she had blue hands and feet on a regular basis. Her courage to race has always impressed me. Despite Sam’s cancer diagnosis she was present at all the practices and meets that her health allowed. She provided encouragement to each athlete by just showing up. I am grateful for her gentle smile and positive attitude.”

The girls tennis team had one senior individual out. Lakia Eilts was looking to make her debut in the varsity lineup for the Lady Bulldogs this season. The Le Mars girls golf team did not have any seniors going out this season.

Below are the names of the seniors along with the word or phrase their coaches used to describe them:

Kara Albrecht- Leadership

Harlie Bates- Disciplined

Chloe Calhoun- Swiss Army Knife

Emily Carlson- Intense

Jordyn Davison- Adventurous

Kady Leusink- Determined

Sarah Meis- Dependable

Samantha Orban- Encouragement

Shaunna Scheitler- Courageous

Paige Washburn- Dedicated

Lakia Eilts- Determined

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