Jay Pope hasn’t been the head coach for Ste. Genevieve High School’s boys track program for long, but he has already put a lot of focus and praise on his athletes.
But those athletes might not get a chance to compete on any track during Pope’s first season at the helm.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, classes and all after-school activities have been put on hold through at least April 30.
“There really aren’t even words to describe it, honestly,” Pope said about the delays to the season. “We were very excited about the upcoming season, especially with the group of seniors on the team, and losing out on the experiences each season brings, it’s just tough to think about. Without question our school district and its leaders have done an amazing job navigating this situation and has kept the safety of the students the main priority.”
Ste. Genevieve’s first few events of the season, including several meets at home, were postponed when the school announced on March 15 that it would close from March 18 until at least April 6. That closure was then extended, which puts the entire season in jeopardy.
“This whole situation made me remember the story of Admiral Jim Stockdale and the Stockdale Paradox — we must confront the brutal facts and balance it with a healthy dose of optimism,” Pope said. “The fact is no one knows if the 2020 Ste. Gen. track team will get to compete this spring, but we do know there will come a time when Ste. Gen. returns to the track. With that in mind, we will continue to seek out ways to improve as coaches, and when we do return to the track, be it 2020 or 2021, we will be ready to provide the best instruction we can.”
See complete story in the April 8 edition of the Herald.