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Macksville track seniors remember former years of competition

Kahrie Stegman

Since their senior track season remains unfinished, Lydia Mendez, Elena Kuckelman, Kaylee Hottovy, Gabe Wolff, Kiley Blevin, McKinley Hottovy, and Brooke Smith remeber their years of competition.

All of this year’s seniors started in track as 7th graders, but will not be continuing in college.

Lydia Mendez competed in the two mile, triple jump, pole vault, one mile, both hurdles, 4x8, the medley, and the 4x2. Mendez lettered in track in high school.

This year, she was excited to add yet another event to her already extensive list: Javelin. Along with this, she was also looking forward to making her last memories with her high school friends.

As she moves on from high school, she wants to be remembered in the community for getting out of her comfort zone and trying new things.

Mendez was upset when she found out that school and all other events were cancelled for the rest of the school year.

“I felt robbed of possible opportunities and memories,” Mendez said. “Those were the final few moments that every senior was supposed to have.”

As a senior being greatly affected by COVID-19, her advice to others is to never take anything for granted.

“Make every moment count. Be involved in as much as you can,” Mendez said. “The more activities you’re in the more memories and friends you’ll make. It goes by fast, cherish everyone and everything you have going for you.”

Also lettering all years of high school track was Elena Kuckelman, who competed in the 200 meter, the 100 meter, the 4X100 relay, the 4X400 relay, and the 4X800 relay in high school. She went to State her freshman and sophomore years.

This season, Kuckelman was looking forward to becoming a better athlete in her final track season.

Kuckelman hopes she left behind a legacy for future track athletes at Macksville.

“I hope that I’ve left behind an example of good work ethic and an enjoyment for the sport,” Kuckelman said.

The situation created by COVID-19 has been stressful for Kuckelman.

“I just take everything one day at a time and know that it will get better,” Kuckelman said.

Kaylee Hottovy competed in the triple jump, long jump, 200 meter dash, medley, 4x1, 4x2, 4x4, 4x8, one mile, two mile, 400 meter dash, 800 meter dash, and she lettered in track.

Like Mendez, Hottovy was most looking forward to making more memories and laughing with her friends, as well as competing in the jumping and running events.

Hottovy’s legacy she hopes to leave behind is her constant push to do her best, and she hopes others do the same.

Hottovy is trying to look on the bright side of the situation, especially since she only has eight days left of her online high school classes. She is also looking forward to going to college.

Gabe Wolff ran the 1 mile, 2 mile, and the 4x800 relay for the most part, but also did field events when a spots needed filled.

Wolff used to do events other than distance in middle school, but found his strength in long distance, as he also ran Cross Country.

Wolff lettered every year, and though he never made it to State, he felt this year the team had a good chance of making it. Not only was he disappointed that this opportunity was taken, he was also disappointed that he wouldn’t be able to finish a full season. In the 2019 season, Wolff got injured early in the season and didn’t recover until after track season.

Wolff was looking forward to running with his friends for his final track season.

As Wolff starts the next chapter of his life, he hopes he is remembered for his commitment to excellence and his will to win.

Wolff said he is ready to finish out the school year He is grateful for everyone who helped him in his activities, and especially for the support of the community of Macksville.

“Our time at Macksville is over but I expect the future Mustangs to pick up where we left off and continue to work hard,” Wolff said.

Kiley Blevin participated mainly in the throwing events, but sometimes did running events as well.

Blevin was looking forward to the time spent with her friends and to setting a personal record in her throwing events.

Though she is sad about the current situation, Blevin won’t give up and is taking it one day at a time.

“Don’t get things get you down cause there is always something brighter in the end,” Blevin said.

McKinley Hottovy’s track success started in middle school, where she got first at the CPL track meet in the medley relay as an eighth grader.

“That is one of my favorite memories from junior high,” Hottovy said.

In high school, Hottovy lettered and competed primarily in sprinting events, such as the 100 meter dash, 200 meter dash, and the 4x100 relay. Her junior year, she tried pole vault and enjoyed that as well, and was looking forward to improving her pole vault skills this year. She was also looking forward to setting new personal records in her other events.

For future track athletes, Hottovy hopes they try new events that might be out of their comfort zones.

Like her peers, Hottovy has had a tough time dealing with in-person school being cancelled.

“I am trying to handle this situation the best I can,” Hottovy said. “In the beginning it was a lot harder for me knowing my senior was taken right in front of me. I was upset at about a lot of things I wouldn’t get to do in my last couple months of high school.”

Outside of track, Hottovy was looking forward to State Powerlifting, senior prom, track season, and her last day of school.

Brooke Smith also competed in track throughout high school and planned on competing her senior year with her classmates. She placed 5th in State in high jump last year, with a personal best of 5’2“. She has signed a letter of intent to compete in volleyball at Kansas Wesleyan College in Salina this fall.