The Sidney Eagles track and field team was originally set to open the season on Saturday, March 28 in Glasgow for the Glasgow Invite. Due to the coronavirus concerns, however, local public high school sports and activities have been suspended until at least April 13.
Stacey Collins, now in her fourth year as head coach, is eager to get the season started with her young team, whenever that happens to be.
“We have a very enthusiastic team that enjoys coming to practice each day,” she said. “We are extremely young and so that is exciting as well.”
The Eagles currently have 25 boys and 20 girls on the team.
Collins comes from a background in track and field throughout her life — and a very successful one at that.
“I participated in track and field all through middle school and high school in Sidney,” Collins said. “I ran track for Dickinson State University, where I was a two-time NAIA All-American. I was inducted into the DSU Athletic Hall of Fame in 2019.”
Another factor that goes into her coaching experience is Collins’ position as a counselor at Sidney High School.
“I started in 2008 as the freshmen/sophomore counselor and moved to the juniors/seniors in 2015,” Collins said. “I feel like it has helped me connect with kids more. The mental aspect of sports has become increasingly important, so I feel that my background in psychology helps.”
The past two years for the Eagles have gone well, Collins said, noting she has seen an increase in numbers for both the girls and boys teams. Together, they placed third in the state in 2018, and fourth in 2019.
This year, though, Collins expects even bigger things from her team. She is confident in what they can do, while making adjustments along the way if needed.
“Our largest group this year is our sprints group, but I feel that all areas have athletes that will excel,” she said. “We try and focus on being a well-rounded team on both the boys and girls. Our goal will be to qualify as many athletes as we can for the state meet and then anything can happen.
“We always like to be in the hunt on both the boys’ and girls’ sides,” Collins continued. “There was a large and very talented group of seniors that graduated across the state, so Class A is pretty open this year. Once we see how the first few meets go, we will make specific adjustments to put ourselves in position to be in the top five at state.”
While that is the goal for the overall season, Collins feels that every meet or practice is an opportunity for her and the team to improve.
“We always focus on the little victories as well as the large ones,” Collins said. “Seeing an athlete succeed not only at meets but in practice as well is why we are all there. We have a new method of training that we are starting this year, so I’m excited to see how the kids respond to that.”