by Gene Helfman
Sitting in the bullpen at a Lopez track meet feels like a gathering of the United Nations. You’re likely to hear conversations in Spanish, German, Danish, Slavic dialects, and accented and unaccented (to our ears) English. Half of the team is made up of “off-islanders,” more if you count Ryan Schaefer from Center Island in that category.
As a result, Lopez has exchange students competing in just about every track and field event. Volodymyr Voronov (Ukraine) puts the shot, hurls the discus, and runs sprints and distance. Alex Aars (Demark) does sprints, distance and discus.
At a recent 11-school meet at Concrete, almost everyone posted personal bests in one or more event, moving into the top 10 individuals in the Northwest District 1B standings. Coach Larry Berg, who has once again filled a gap in the sports program and assumed track coach responsibilities, congratulated all on their accomplishments and positive attitude: “They’re a great bunch of kids to coach, even if I don’t necessarily understand everything they say.”
Until Lopez High can find funds to do essential repairs to their home track, all meets will be away, leading up to Districts on May 12 at Lummi.