North’s Ted Schermetzler was painting and Kohler/Christian’s Duane DuMez was getting a head start on work around the house.
The track and field coaches obviously rather be running practices and overseeing meets.
“It is really, really weird,” said DuMez, in his 40th season as coach. “I’ve had thunderstorms, lightning, snow, rainstorms, everything else cancelled track for a little while. Never anything like this in 40 years.”
Coach Schermetzler also teaches house construction at North and his class was able to finish putting up the dry wall before school was closed because of the Coronavirus.
That left him to complete the siding and painting.
“No matter how much rain, I’d rather be doing (track),” Schermetzler said. “Even though (teaching) is my real job, it’s still a lot more fun to be coaching kids.
“I’ve been teaching myself how to use YouTube and Zoom and all the things that a tech-ed teacher typically does not partake in.”
DuMez’s wife recently pointed out to her husband this is the first time in their 40-year marriage he has been home for a full day in March or April.
“When I was teaching, it was teaching and then track all night,” DuMez said. “Four or five hours of sleep. … I’m getting some spring projects done that normally have to wait until summer.”
He even left a voicemail for the WIAA, suggesting it should possibly extend the spring sports season into June, and feels bad for the seniors – in any sport.
“This is their last hurrah and my heart goes out to them simply because I remember what it was like in high school,” DuMez said. “You’re doing everything for the last time and it kind of has a little bit of a finality to it. As of right now, they aren’t being able to experience these things. They really dedicated themselves for three years.”
The boys are seeking to claim their third straight Big East Conference title, as two reigning conference champions – all from Kohler – are back.
“Yes, definitely, because we only lost four seniors and we picked up a good crew of freshmen,” DuMez said. “And I had all my sophomores and juniors returning, so we had 44 guys and we were pretty deep in every event.
“I thought we were going to be stronger this year than we were last year.”
Three Christian girls – Ellie Steenwyk, Grace VanEss and Paige Warmus – are back.
Steenwyk finished third at the Big East championship meet in the 1,600-meter run and fifth in the 3,200.
Senior Carly Schreurs not only finished seventh at Division 3 state in the triple jump, she is trying to win the event for the third straight season in the Big East Conference championship meet.
“I was looking forward to it and I hope we can maybe get some meets in, probably not though,” the Concordia University recruit said. “I was really looking forward to it, but I’m still training and preparing for whatever happens.”
She was also on the 800 relay team with Kirsten Solle, Emma Schmideler and Rose Hahn that broke the school record that had stood since 2005.
“We were looking forward to that to and hoping to beat it again,” Schreurs said.
The boys will be led by Matthew Witte, Hans Gruben, Logan Zak and Aidan Diener, as they competed on the 3,200 relay that took 13th at state and the 1,600 relay that placed 17th.
“We’ve just got a great group of mature athletes, that even with the time off, there’s very little we’ve got to tell them to do,” Crusaders’ coach Hans Otten said. “They know what to do to keep their body ready, if and when we’ve got a season. Just great kids.”
Several Golden Raiders are back after successful seasons last year, including senior Cassius Rohadfox, who placed eighth in the state and third in the Fox River Classic Conference in the shot put.
Schermetzler says Rohadfox threw over 50 feet the first week of practice and continues to contact him with links of his throws.
“So as long as he keeps doing what he has been … ” Schermetzler said.
Madeline Green, another senior, came in 17th in the pole vault at state.
Sophomore Nyla Spicer is the reigning conference champion in the long jump, and she also finished fourth in the 100 and 200 dash.
Seniors Nadia Versey and Josh Walter, as well as junior Jeremy Rusch, each finished fourth at the FRCC meet a year ago.
“Obviously our kids right now are a little bit devastated with what’s happening,” girls’ coach Frantz Felix said. “And there’s not much I can actually do or tell them other than to stay positive.”
Chris Korff is now running the girls’ team after he was the sprint coach last season.
“This has been tough,” the 1996 Falls’ graduate said. “The toughest part is we had a good week the first week of season, and then we’re told to pump the breaks and see what was going to go on. That weekend was when everything got shut down. It’s a lot like teaching, where I’ve been doing virtual stuff, sending workouts, communicating that way.
“But we have no clear date in sight, so it’s been tough.”
The boys will be led by junior Stephan Ellis, who finished fourth at the conference championship in the pole vault.
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