Spring athletes continue to practice despite early end to season

During his workout, May 11, Chris Buck pulls a tire across the football field. Photo by Trinity Barker

Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, athletes have been hit hard. All spring sports have been cut short for many athletes, taking away freshmen’s first seasons and senior’s final season, memories they can never get back.

“As a senior I was really looking forward to Senior Night. While I wasn’t a part of the [lacrosse] program for four years like some seniors are for other sports, I still think the chance to play in a final home game would’ve been a memorable experience that I’ll never get. The majority of the first half of our season we played a lot of games on the road, and I don’t think we reached our full potential as a team,” Jack Silva said.

Although sports are canceled, athletes are still finding ways to grow and improve for the next season of their sport. Continuing to stay active, athletes take advantage of the track and baseball fields, they use it as a place to work on improving their skills. Athletes who play fall sports, like Fisher Clements, are unsure if they will be able to play this fall, but that hasn’t stopped them from practicing.

“Train like your season is going as planned. You can’t over prepare. If you train like the season is normal, and you get more time you’ll be better, if it starts on time, you’re ready. Just because all this is going on doesn’t mean we stop doing anything. We can’t control when quarantine ends, but we can control how hard we work in quarantine,” Clements said.

With many restrictions to group gatherings during these times, athletes cannot practice with their teams. Although some athletes ignore the social distancing guideline and practice with a couple of teammates.

“I work out with Austin Hauptman mostly, but we also work with Perry Payne, Jesse Kraft, Nick Tawney and Anthony Parker. Normally we don’t keep six feet apart but we don’t touch hands, or our faces. We just fist bump or elbow touch. We’re aware of what we have to do but six feet apart can be hard at times,” Clements said.

Practicing alone can cause some athletes to struggle with not being able to see their team, as well as having to find drills to do on their own. Other athletes like Christopher Buck, a thrower in track, do not mind practicing alone because they do not need teammates to practice with.

“My parents make me practice alone but I practice the same alone as I normally do, so quarantine hasn’t been that bad because I’m used to practicing by myself on the weekends,” Buck said.

Many athletes take it upon themselves to better their skills and maintain being in shape for when they can participate in their sport again during these difficult times. Athletes work on improving themselves on their own, but for others, they practice with fellow athletes or family members while taking precautions. Athletes that do train with other people set certain boundaries while helping and encouraging one another for improvement.

“I work out with my neighbors that play baseball and other players from Whitney. Although the six-foot rule is in effect it’s something that is hard to follow, especially in baseball. For me personally, I continue to work at my craft because I’m going to continue playing in college next year, and this is the best time to prepare for that. You have to be good on your own for your team to be good. Although it’s hard to be by yourself, it is where you find yourself as a true player,” Gage Eastlick said.

Quarantine hasn’t been all downhill for students, it has helped bring out new interests and hobbies for many of them. With all the down time, many students are finding new activities to do outside their typical athletic routine.

“I was practicing at the Whitney track everyday at the beginning of the stay at home order, doing track & field and cheer, but it didn’t bring me the same happiness. So, I started mountain biking and it’s really been so much fun. I plan to join the Whitney High Mountain biking team when it starts in the winter. Quarantine hasn’t affected my sport because it hasn’t shut down any trails. I continue to practice because I really want to do good and excel in this sport. It also is a stress reliever and takes my mind off of things a lot,” Kendall Velasco said.

Through this unusual circumstance, students are still staying focused on their goals. Students like Meghan Cole, a swimmer, miss her team but are able to use this as a drive towards what they want to achieve.

Cole said, “I train alone and I miss my team and friends and the bond we shared, and I would give athletes the advice: Keep your head up, don’t let these tough times distract you from your goals and keep up the hard work.”