By Marketta Bennett
As William Peace University starts their academic spring semester, they also dive into their 2021 athletic season. As many of us know, WPU canceled all 18 sports because of the severe spread of COVID-19 at a fast pace.
“I feel great about starting the season again. I am happy to be back and be able to practice. I am ready to start competing again, but overall I am excited,” said Errick Davis, one of the men captain on the track and field team.
Starting up, all students were required to have a negative COVID test before returning to campus. Some student-athletes such as the men and women basketball team returned to campus a little earlier than everyone else because of the start of their season.
“I feel good being back, especially having a season this year. I was just starting my sophomore year when COVID canceled our season. It shocked me how crazy something you love so much could be taken away just like that,” said Nadia Pittman. “I’m just glad that we are able to have a season this year because now it is my junior year.”
This spring semester, the University is taking all protocols that need to be taken. The University will be doing random COVID tests for all students on and off-campus. Most student-athletes, like the ones who have close contact, will be tested three times a week. The other low contact sports will be tested once a week.
“Our team goals are very simple. Focus on the individual success and the team success will follow,” said Coach Pham, head coach of track and field. “We want to make sure we’re focused on getting back into the groove of things injury-free.”
Many student-athletes are excited to start their season but one thing that may bring up conflicts is that all 18 sports are active during the spring semester meaning there will be many games going on at once or throughout the week.
“I feel this season will definitely be a good one and the reasoning being is that we waited for this time to come back around to showcase what we are capable of,” said Pittman. “Although we have new rules and protocols to follow, it’s better than not having a season at all. I believe as long as everyone follows these rules and protocols and stays healthy, we can have a great season.
“With such a young team our goals aren’t always athletically driven, the talent is there but we want to be able to build a strong culture of competitiveness and accountability,” said Coach Pham.
Monday and Wednesday practices will consider lifts and early morning running at 7 a.m. Tuesday practices are the hard running days, and Friday practices are for meet prep. Meets are held on the weekends.
As students gear up and start their season, they are also keeping their masks up and away from the illness. Students are still practicing social distancing while at practice as well as following other procedures for their health as well as the WPU community health.
“We’re for sure more hungry and will be ready for competition. COVID did end out our season abruptly last year so a lot of our returning athletes will be more motivated to compete,” said Pham.
Let the rest of the season and semester be just as good as if COVID was not here.