On February 8th, 2021, the Colonial States Athletic Conference (CSAC) announced that they would be moving forward with the intent to have a formal competitive season. This included having conference matchups and conference championships as well as non-conference games for the spring 2021 semester. The sports that were included in this regimen are baseball, softball, men’s golf, men’s and women’s lacrosse, women’s tennis, men’s and women’s outdoor track and field, and men’s volleyball.
With the conference giving its institutions the green light for spring sports, it also gave the green light for other sports such as women’s soccer and field hockey, who will be competing in a non-traditional setting with mostly practices. For teams in competition, they will have to follow strict protocol such as a mask mandate, proper social distancing, and COVID-19 testing for twenty five percent of the team each week.
Although the guidelines and the protocol will be strict and must be followed by teams in season who are competing, athletes understand the protocol and will adhere to it as deemed necessary to play.
“I’m fully confident that we can follow COVID protocols,” James Husar ’21 said. “It is simple for us if we want to play these protocols must be followed. I must admit it is a lot to get used to wearing a mask running around all the time, but it is something we must do in order to play the sports we love and work so hard for.”
“Everyone consistently wears masks, and we follow the 6 feet apart rule as well,” Patrick Procopio ’21 added. “These are some different and difficult times for everybody, although we will continuously find a way to get things done,” the infield standout said.
“I am confident in my team following COVD protocols. I think it is to the point where everyone just wants to play and will do whatever it takes to be able to do so,” Katey Roth ’21 mentioned. As a returning starter, Roth understands how discipline her and the team must be.“We all understand the magnitude of COVID and how it would affect the team and our season if an outbreak were to occur, so we are being cautious and still enjoying it all.”
One other softball standout, Megan Bradley, who is also a senior and is returning as a starter this year is hopeful that the season will go on as planned. “Everyone is committed to wearing masks, socially distancing, and constantly sanitizing not just our hands but also all the equipment we use,” Bradley ’21 said.
As for indoor sports competing in the spring, men’s volleyball is a sport that will be on that list. A sport that usually starts its season in the middle of January as a winter sport got pushed back because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Senior Oliver Perry, a fourth-year starter for the men’s volleyball team, also feels optimistic about his last season. “The mask is definitely something that we need to get used to. It makes it harder to breathe, recover, and communicate. Playing with no spectators will bring a quieter atmosphere during our games, but that just means we need to bring the hype ourselves.”
With the difficult state of times that our world is in right now due to the pandemic, and everlasting changes of regulations due to state and federal mandates, this season for athletes will feel like none other.
“I think the feeling of all being back together again and just being to play the game again will create a much more dynamic and energized locker room/ dugout,” Roth added.
“I think this season to us is a fresh start,” Husar said. “They stated in their preseason predictions that it is pretty much a battle for second for us with Keystone winning with a landslide. I would say the atmosphere around us is motivated to prove every person in our conference and D3 baseball that Wilson College is here to make a statement.”
The feeling of spring sports being back feels special, as it should, to a lot of the players being able to compete. With the players being able to compete, they still set goals for the season as a team.
“Our team’s goal is to defend our conference title and go back to NCAA’s,” Bradley proudly stated. “I truly believe this team has a lot of talent and potential, so if we stay true to our goal and capitalize every game day, we will be successful.”
“My number one goal for this season other than keeping the team safe and healthy is winning our first CSAC Championship,” Procopio said. “Also, playing as far as possible into the NCAA playoffs. We have a very talented group of men that are willing to work hard every day for the same goal.”
Though, for Oliver Perry and his senior squad, his team is in a different bind. With him being one of two returners from last year, he will have to step up his leadership role.
“Although we are a team made up of beginner volleyball players, I still hope to play hard and make other teams second guess their thoughts of Wilson,” Perry mentioned. “I want them to think that we aren’t a team that will be easily taken down.”
One of the toughest parts of the pandemic for a lot of athletes in general was staying in shape and ‘game-ready,’ just in case all sports were to resume competition in the spring semester. With facilities on campus closed and most fitness center gyms in local areas shutting down due to the pandemic, a lot of athletes had to become creative and do workouts in the comfort of their homes.
“I started a membership at a fitness club near me once gyms could reopen. I received personal training and participated in group exercise classes at the club,” the senior catcher Bradley stated. “I even found my old Wii and set that up to use some of the workout games on there as a fun way to motivate myself when everything was shut down.”
“The three aspects of my game that I have been focusing on during COVID is mental, physical, and technical skills,” Husar said. “The mental is just by watching videos and even having sessions of deep breathing to keep my mental health a priority, for my physical I would do mostly in-home workouts with bands and weight, and for my technical skills I would go outside in my driveway do footwork drills and practice stuff from a makeshift base.”
“My mom is also a certified personal trainer, so I have been asking her for help to stay healthy during the pandemic,” Perry said. “Over the break, I would join in on her training sessions, and I would follow her recipes to keep a healthy diet.”
“I was consistently going to the gym at least 4 days per week and I was running at least 6 miles per week,” Bethany Comp ’21 stated. “If the gym were shut down, I would do home workouts,” the starting defender added. “I took my dog on a lot of walks when I was home, and I tried to maintain a healthy diet.”
Some athletes have been going above and beyond with the creativeness to workout, but others have been doing their ordinary workouts.
“I have been following my lifting program every day and hitting once in the morning and at night,” Procopio said.
It is a great sign for athletes, coaches, fans, family members, and the community in general to see spring sports make a comeback. Even though it will be slightly different, like having no fans in the stands, technology will play a vital role as fans will be able to tune in and watch athletes compete again. For many spring sports, a full slate of games will begin in March, so stay tuned!