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Monticello girls track and field team goes the extra mile in season uncertainty

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The Monticello girls track and field team had a very successful season last year and were looking forward to the 2020 season until it COVID-19 put a stop to spring sports until further notice.

Last years runners Ashanti Guertin, Thalia Mendoza-Brunotte, Jordyn Larson, and graduated Lily Johnson qualified for the 4x400 relay at state and made it to the championship on June 7 at Hamline University.

The four girls ran a personal best time of 3:56.22 and earned fourth place with their time.

Unfortunately, the judges disqualified the Magic runners on a technicality called “bilateral movement”.

The girls were crushed and promised senior Lily that they would make her proud next year.

Needless to say, the season being postponed isn’t what the girls wanted to hear.

Head Coach Kim Nygaard feels for her athletes.

“We’ve been fired up for the 2020 season ever since the state meet ended last year,” Coach Nygaard said. “We have a very talented group of seniors this year and it’s hard not seeing them and practicing with them every day.”

This year’s squad is made up of a big number of seniors who are disappointed about this lost time.

Myla Bondhus, Sophia Carson, Guertin, Kamee Kitzman, Juanel Roux, Ava Soucy, Natalie Theyson, Isabella Veliahek, Elise Yeager, and captains Ally Frickel, Larson, and Lauran Zwack will be leading the team this year.

This setback has had negative effects on the team, but it’s also shown some positives.

“I think it’s hard for the girls because we can’t see each other and they aren’t able to perform, but I’ve also seen my team come together in a whole new way,” Coach Nygaard said.

Coach Nygaard has also been posting to the Monticello track and field twitter page so that her team can stay connected. Every week she’s posted optional workouts and words of encouragement.

Coach Nygaard also touched on how it’s easier to train as a runner during this time because it’s not a team sport.

“You can do things on your own versus basketball or football or soccer where you need someone else to practice your skills, but these girls can train on their own no problem,” she said.

Over all Coach Nygaard is proud of her team no matter what and she’s heard some great things going on behind the scenes.

She’s received texts from athletes confirming they have been doing workouts on their own and even meeting in groups of five to keep each other motivated.

“It’s inspiring to me as a coach,” Nygaard said. “They’re such a positive group and they tend to look at things in a different way than other people. So, I know we’ll get through this.”

The most recent update from the Minnesota State High School League states that sports are canceled until Friday, March 27, but the Monticello Times website will have any further updates.

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