WESTFIELD, NJ — The Westfield High School runner is keeping in shape and connecting with his teammates online in the hopes that the track team might come together for a season of competition when the coronavirus pandemic has passed.
Sophomore Conor Daly took home a county title at the 3200 this past winter and has been working hard, his coach said. Daly is this week’s Ron Bansky and Associates Allstate Westfield Athlete of the Week.
“Conor has a tremendous appetite for work,” said head track coach Christopher Tafelski. “His work ethic is outstanding. His win at counties was special because of how he took control of the race. It was Conor’s first 2-mile race since the previous spring, and with half-a-mile to go, he just hammered like crazy and dropped everyone.”
Tafelski said Daly also ran his last 800 in 2:17, which is only 7 seconds off of his best time in that event.
Even without being able to run with other teammates due to restrictions from COVID-19, Daly has continued his training by running on the streets and communicating with his teammates via online chats.
“We can’t get together with coaches or teammates, but we can still communicate online,” Daly said. “We have online team meetings. We try to motivate each other and make sure everyone is holding themselves accountable.”
The training isn’t just for fun. “There’s a good chance there’s going to be a spring season,” Daly said.
The NJSIAA, which oversees high school athletics, said on April 1 that it will work toward a modified spring season of athletics, despite coronavirus.
“NJSIAA is committed to doing whatever is possible to provide New Jersey’s student-athletes with some type of spring season,” the NJSIAA said in a statement posted to its website. “We have not given up on spring sports, and will continue holding teleconferences and virtual meetings with leaders of our various leagues and conferences to assess options.”
While running is an apparently individual sport, Daly said, the team aspect is key.
“Many people think that track is an individual sport and it doesn’t matter what the guy does next to you, but Coach [Tafelski] and us make it something more,” he said.