OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — It's a phrase head track coach Justin Wrigley has heard over and over again: "No one feels sorry for old St. Thomas Aquinas."
If there's one Kansas City-area athletic program that's always been at the top of its game, it's the St. Thomas Aquinas High School track and field team.
But this year, as the Saints prepare for their fourth meet of the season, things have been more difficult — they're a track team without a track.
For years, the St. Thomas Aquinas team practiced at Johnson County Community College, but there is currently a major renovation that includes building an athletic complex where the track used to be. The construction has left the Saints scrambling to find more creative ways to practice.
"Whether it's here on campus or Stoll Park, the roads (or) the trails, we are finding places to run," Wrigley said.
The student athletes are making the most of the situation as well.
"Even though it's not a perfect 400-meter loop, we are still finding a Point A to Point B route to get our workout in that's accurate," senior Ethan Marshall said.
It's this type of adversity that has brought the team closer together.
"I spent a lot of the winter in a funk, thinking we would lose a lot of kids who weren't up to a season with no track, and we've got over 140 kids," Wrigley said. "It's kind of been our norm and so having all those kids out brought a tear to my eye on the first day because I thought that wouldn't be the case."