My Internship at Quincy Track Club

My name is Alex Case, I am a member of the class of 2022! I am a double major in secondary education and European History here at Wheaton College. I am also a sprinter on the Women’s Track and Field team. Summer of 2020 I took advantage of the Wheaton Edge Internship program. Every summer since I was 15 I worked at the local track club for children ages 5-14, run by my former high school coach, Geoff Hennessy in my home city of Quincy Massachusetts. Prior to COVID-19, I thought this would be a great opportunity to build on my coaching skills. I hope to be a high school teacher starting fall of 2022, and would love to also be a high school track coach.

So How Did it Work?

Coach Hennessy was remarkably flexible, as I was in another state for the first month of my internship. He gave me a long list of videos to watch on YouTube, including but not limited to: documentaries, strength and conditioning videos, and personal blogs from well-known track and field athletes from around the world. Twice a week I would call him at night to talk about what I learned. The rest of the call consisted of going over Power Points from highly-respectable coaches from across the United States. We devoted the time I was remote to learning about the rules and regulations of the sport, how to deal with having a team, and anything with emphasis on the physiology of the body. Any track coach will tell you how important understanding how lactic acid and muscles are activated during any type of exercising.

On the Track!

The second part of this internship took place at my local track. This past summer, a large well-deserved and much-needed storage facility (including bathrooms and water fountains) was completed at the track. I was tasked with helping my coach record measurements for shelving and then organizing equipment after the shelving was installed.

image of new building

Here is the brand new storage facility, completed this past summer!

After everything was organized, I would come to help observe small group high school practices during the week days. I would  jump in when necessary to demonstrate drills and proper form. Then, every night I would work the sign-in table. Parents often had many questions and so I would help provide as many answers and information as possible. Working at the table definitely helped me with my interpersonal skills with dealing with parents. The other members of the staff that I worked with were current high school students, some of which who were my former teammates. All of us had track-related ties to Coach Hennessy, which made the practices and work-nights feel a lot more connected.

Even after I returned to Massachusetts, and was able to go forth with the in-person portion of my internship, I kept up with a lot of online aspects. For example, Coach Hennessy set me up with daily strength and conditioning lectures by highly-regarded coaches on zoom for an hour in the week-day afternoon.s I learned so much about proper stretching and a lot about lower-back injuries. Coach also had me read through the 2019-2020 United States high school track and field rule book, to make note of new rules that have come into effect since I last competed.

There was also my fair share of coffee runs because I knew how much we loved our coffee!

COVID-19 Accommodations

And of course, everyone was required to be masked at all times during workouts and practices, small groups were maintained, hand sanitizer and other sanitizing products were provided. For the track club, sanitizing products were required to be used in between every station rotation to clean shared equipment, again everyone was required to be masked at all times, and everything was done at the outdoor track. The indoor storage facility I organized and worked at had two garage-sized doors on either sad that were open at all times for proper air flow and lines for sign-in were kept outside the facility.

I’ve always thought of Coach Hennessy as family because he has known my family and I since I was 8 years old. Working for him brought me the comfort I needed as COVID-19 was spreading along with the uncertainty of the fall and the future this past summer.