In our first article on how the coronavirus has affected UMPI athletics, we focused on the baseball, volleyball and golf teams. We took a look at the differences the coronavirus has made as well as its impact. In this section, we will focus on the soccer and cross country teams.
COVID-19 made soccer practice extremely difficult. According to Courtney Richard, they had to be separate from their teammates for three weeks. On the upside, the soccer team didn’t need to wear masks during practice as long as they maintained a safe social distance of six feet. “For the first three weeks we couldn’t share equipment,” Richard said.
After those three weeks, the players were finally allowed to share equipment, but they still couldn’t have contact with their teammates. During practice, the soccer team had three groups of five to six teammates per group. The athletes had to keep their masks on until they got on the field, because once they were on the field, they were more than six feet away from one another.
After every practice, the team members would usually gather and talk a little bit. But with COVID-19 around this year, they weren’t able to huddle up after practice. “Practice was very separate and more individualized compared to last year,” Richard said.
Cross country team members also had practices this fall. According to runner Campton Tinkham, COVID-19 didn’t play a significant factor in their practices. This is because cross country is more of an individual sport. Since the runners on the team were already spread out, they were able to avoid wearing masks for the most part.
“We didn’t really have a problem with sharing equipment because there is not really anything to share.” Practice was fairly simple for the cross country team. They would line up 15 feet apart and warm up. After the runners got loose and warmed up, the coach would give all runners their run for the day.
Most sports this year have taken a hit when it comes to extra circumstances and rules. But the university is trying to keep us as safe as possible. Fortunately there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and we will make it out of COVID-19.
It’s just a matter of working through it and doing your individual job whether that be just as a student or as a student athlete. If we all play our part in keeping our community safe, that’ll be one less place the government has to worry about as a whole when it comes to the spread of the virus. And remember, there’re always better days ahead.