By Marketta Bennett and Maddelyn Tatum
The abrupt end to the spring semester this year was tragic for many students, especially for those who play spring sports.
Approaching the 2020-2021 school year, there have been a lot of concerns and questions that have developed for this school year and the upcoming sports seasons.
Athletic Director Tom Curle attended Zoom meetings with each sports team during the week of August 24 to explain that if everyone follows the rules that are set in place, it will help tremendously keeping sports programs alive.
Wearing masks and disinfecting equipment are the main changes seen throughout the athletic department. In addition, all athletes must have a symptom and temperature check before attending practice and must practice safe social distancing measures.
“It was a bummer we didn’t have a season last year so I’m itching to get back on the track,” said Coach BT Pham, head coach of the track and field team. “We are taking all safety measures to ensure our athletes’ safety.”
This past spring, the men’s and women’s Track & Field teams had to end their seasons early, along with many other WPU teams. With that, many of our seniors were not able to compete in their last year as an undergrad student athlete, which was a devastating experience for most.
“I was kind of prepared for the season to end honestly,” said Miles Carter, a sophomore thrower on the team. “When I kept hearing all the other schools canceling their season, I got in the mindset we’re not having one.”
Though some of the other sports were able to compete at least one time with another school, our track and field team did not. They were a couple of days before the first meet when they were told the season was ending.
In order to work out and be in practice areas, athletes must sign in. There is a limit to how many people are allowed in a certain area. Specifically, the Pacer Performance Center and the Stables have seen some changes.
The Stables require a login sheet and only 15 people are allowed to be in there at a time. The doors must stay open and there are fans put in place to regulate airflow. Along with this, masks are required at all times.
“Big hooray to how they developed the program,” said Coach Charlie Dobbins, the head coach of WPU’s softball team. “I really think they have done a great job putting a program together that the student athletes can follow… It’s something that will keep them safe but also effectively get us back on a ball field.”
Student athletes say the measures have largely been followed.
“From what I have seen when I go to work out in the PPC or hit in the stables, everyone has worn their masks like they were told to do and followed rules such as cleaning the equipment after usage and opening doors so there is more airflow through the buildings,” said Caitlin Bobbit, a freshman softball player.
Students will practice in their normal locations, with masks on if they are inside while still practicing social distancing.
“I’m happy to have the opportunity to be back on campus doing my thing, I live my life not being scared,” said Paige Knussman, assistant softball coach. “I think some may be apprehensive, but I also think most people are ready to take this on. If one person gets it, we’re going to do what we have to keep everyone safe to progress.”
All students are to track their temperature on a daily basis before leaving their living space and entering classrooms using their Magnus Health portal. As for athletes, 14 days prior to practice days athletes are to track their temperature through their Magnus Health portal as well to make sure they will be okay to be in spaces with other students and supervisors.
“I’m excited about this season but I don’t know what’s to come so I’m kind of nervous,” said Walter Brown, a junior sprinter on the team.