AURORA, Mo. — It’s different. By no means has it been a normal season. But that doesn’t mean you can’t stay the course and take a different path to reach the finish line. Aurora High School’s track and field team finished what they started with their own virtual track meet.

“I was like this could be pretty interesting,” junior Kaci Singer said. “But my mom was like, ‘You should do it.’ So I was like, ‘OK.’ And here we are.”

Months passed without a chance to see each other, and really missing an opportunity to compete. That all changed when Big River Racing posted an idea that many schools in Missouri rallied behind. Aurora conducted four meets in four weeks, every Thursday morning, as students went out and ran their respective event. Whether it was the 800-meter run or the mile, someone would time them.

From there, students posted their times online using the hashtag ‘#GatewayVirtualTrackSeries’ where participants could see other runners times as well.

“It’s also neat because on Twitter they can actually follow their competitors,” head coach Melanie Crockett said. “So they can see who else put in their results and how they’re doing–they see pictures of them. So it does kind of push them forward.”

Senior Aubrey Boatwright added how she was a fan of the idea.

“Just the whole concept is cool because we’re competing against schools that we wouldn’t normally compete against,” she said.

Aurora is part of Class 3, but when it comes to the virtual track meet the Houn’Dawgs are pinned up against schools outside of their conference. The virtual track meet concluded on Thursday morning with final results expected as early as next week.

“Being able to run more,” junior Angel Cruz said. “Not being at home alone, hanging out with more of my friends, my coach; it’s fun.”

Runners with the fastest times earn a state award plaque. It may help make an unordinary season a bit more normal, but the student athletes were just happy to be on the track again.

“It’s like a once in a lifetime opportunity to be able to compete in a virtual track meet like you’re never going to be able to do that again,” Singer said.