Cristo Rey Brooklyn Track Lets Coronavirus Run Its Course

Cristo Rey Brooklyn senior Emmanuel Kenscoff has been adjusting to a new workout schedule during the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo courtesy of Emmanuel Kenscoff)

For over a month and a half, this new normal brought on by the coronavirus has had student-athletes in the diocese wondering about what’s next.

Rather than wait around for answers during this uncertain time, one local track team is facing the challenge head-on The track team at Cristo Rey Brooklyn H.S., Flatbush, has remained hard at work over the last few weeks by continuing to train on their own.

Head coach Grace Vixama routinely emails individualized workouts to her runners to keep them in shape during this period of transition.

“I converted the normal workouts into workouts they can do at home,” said Vixama, currently in her fourth year leading the boys’ and girls’ teams. “They don’t actually have to go to a track; they don’t even have to go outside. I modified everything so that they could do it literally in their living rooms.”

These unique times have called for this unique form of training. Since the entire outdoor track season won’t be happening, it’s important that the runners maintain a baseline level of fitness as they set their sights on the fall season.

“At this point, it’s more so about keeping everyone in shape, so when we do start back up, everyone would have at least been doing something,” Vixama said. “Our focus is less on running and more on maintenance. There’s a lot of core work and a lot of strengthening, mobility, and stability exercises.”

Cristo Rey Brooklyn’s team is primarily made up of sprinters and fi eld athletes. Vixama created programs for these student-athletes that have been effective yet not too time-consuming since they also have been focused on school through e-learning.

Freshman Jazmin Rogers said that although regular outdoor practice is more motivating, the team needs to do what it can to adjust to these times.

“Now things are different,” said Rogers, the team’s fastest female sprinter. “We have to push ourselves and get our minds into a mode where we can’t have instant gratification. We have to wait and think more about the benefits to doing these workouts rather than staying in all day and watching Netflix.”

Vixama said she is pleased that her runners are taking the initiative to continue their training. In fact, she often receives messages from her student-athletes letting her know that they’ve completed the day’s workout.

The team’s lone distance runner, senior Emmanuel Kenscoff , has had to significantly alter his normal day-to-day regimen. Typically the best workout for a distance runner is to simply go outside and run. Kenscoff is still running long distances but trying to limit his time outdoor to under an hour.

“I think you lose more motivation to keep exercising while staying at home, so it’s always nice to just go outside and go on a run,” Kenscoff said. “Going out and running on your own … it feels great. Keeping up with the workout schedule keeps my mind off the virus. I just want to keep running.”

Sticking to a routine has given the Cristo Rey Brooklyn runners a sense of hope. There are still some unknowns to overcome, but constantly improving will set them up for long-term success.

“The grind doesn’t stop,” said Rogers. “There’s no chill time when it comes to track. We have indoor and outdoor seasons, so I feel like to be doing this year-round is really a blessing. It keeps our heads in the game constantly.

“For us to be doing these workouts, it builds us a foundation, and it gives us something to take away the stress we already have from school and the virus.”

When the next track season does eventually start up, the Panthers are poised to be a few steps ahead of the game, given their commitment during the quarantine.

“I’m just trying to be optimistic and focusing on what we can control and less on what we can’t,” Vixama said. “There’s always next year.”

Next year cannot come soon enough, and when it does, Cristo Rey Brooklyn will be ready.

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