By KELLEN STEPLER
This spring could have produced the best boys’ track & field team that Chambersburg assistant coach John Ambrosio has ever had.
“We might have made a run at a state title,” said Ambrosio, who’s been an assistant coach for the team since 1986. “I knew in my heart — and I’ve been around long enough — that we had something.”
Focused on coaching the sprinters, Ambrosio said that once the season was officially canceled because of the COVID-19 virus, there was nothing for the sprinters to do.
Ambrosio said, “We had some individual studs, but also would have been able to compete well in a dual meet. It’s the finest boys team I’ve ever had. The timing of this is awful – of all seasons for this to happen, it’s a bummer.”
1969 marked the last time a Chambersburg boys track team won a District 3 championship. The boys lost only six seniors from last year’s squad, and brought back ace sprinter Tyeshawn Worrell and thrower Brock Harmon, both of whom placed at states last year. The Trojans would have also been very strong in the relays.
“This team could have compared with any team in the history of the school district,” Ambrosio said.
Ambrosio, who also serves as the head boys cross country coach, noted that some distance runners on the team have been keeping in touch with him, and that head girls cross country coach and girls track coach Chris Monheim has been assigning some workouts to distance runners as well.
“I’ll send out a weekly text to the distance runners, suggesting a training plan for the week,” Monheim said. “I’ll reach out through emails, Facebook posts and texts.”
Monheim said he tries to structure the workouts like they would be competing, and keeping things as normal as possible.
“Unlike other sports, (distance running) doesn’t need equipment,” Monheim said. “For distance running, we can still do what we typically do.
“The uncertainty of the whole situation is difficult, not knowing what’s going to happen in the fall. It’s hard to motivate kids to do stuff, and trying to get distance runners to train through the spring when there are no meets is tough to sell.”
Spring coaches, like Monheim and Trojan baseball coach Scott Folmar, went from the busiest time of the year for them to no interaction at all. As a result of a law passed by state legislature, spring coaches did get paid for this season.
“Normally at this time, we’re super busy,” Folmar said. “I’m taking this time to reflect, put things in perspective and enjoy life with my wife and four kids.”
Folmar said he tries to text his players at least once a week and check in with how they are doing. A couple of weeks ago, the varsity and JV teams had a Zoom meeting to catch up.
“As coaches, we tell our players to play today like it’s your last. Now, it is reality,” Folmar said. “Coaches and players will take that for what its worth, and it will mean more now with what happened this spring.”
The baseball team was able to compete in only one scrimmage before the season was canceled.
“It’s crazy; it’s obviously never happened before,” Folmar said. “It puts in perspective what’s important in life.”