Several AU student athletes began practices last Saturday, February 20th. Both the coaches and students were eager to get to working out again and participating in their sports, especially after having the scare of increased positive cases on campus just last week. All sports teams are back to work and began their seasons strong with high hopes of making it to competition in the next few weeks.
All sports teams have been taking COVID-19 safety and regulations more seriously than ever, wearing masks and keeping a social distance at practices and when working out in the varsity weight room. Head Track and Field coach Angie Taylor said, “The team is staying COVID safe during practices by social distancing, wearing a mask, having their own water bottles and not sharing, being honest about how they feel before attending practice and not engaging in risky behaviors.” By taking these small steps to remain safe during practices, Coach Taylor believes that the Track and Field team can have a “productive indoor and outdoor competitive season [and that] it comprises of keeping everyone safe, excited, encouraged and achieving personal and team goals.”
Although everyone is continuing to remain safe during practices, it isn't always easy on the student athletes or the coaches. “Being a coach during COVID has been very different and frustrating to say the least, but as the leader of the program, I have to stay focused on the goal of keeping the student-athletes motivated and encouraged,” expressed Coach Taylor.
“Even though lacrosse practices look like normal practices, the addition of masks can get annoying regarding more acne breakouts and the difficulty with breathing but it’s not anything we complain about because we’re all fine with it–we're doing what we can to stay safe,” said Sophomore Women’s Lacrosse player, Mackenzie Jordan. “We avoid large gatherings [off the field] and do our part in making sure [everyone] can have as normal of a season as possible.”
Despite the frustration both the student athletes and coaches feel during this time, they’re doing their best to remain smart and safe for the sake of their seasons, but more so for the sake of campus staying open, in general. Everyone is trying to avoid the chaos of last Spring when everyone was sent home and lost their seasons, this time the focus is on keeping everyone safe and making sure they’re abiding by the rules.
“We are always wearing masks and step away from one another if we are taking a drink, as well as staying apart as best we can during drills,” said Senior Men’s Tennis Captain, Adam Shearer. “[We do] whatever necessary to keep the ability to play, [even though] the masks can make it difficult to breath at times, especially in long points or on runs, but it’s well worth the discomfort to be able to play,” said Captain Shearer.
Faculty, students, and student athletes that are a part of AU hope to remain cautious and attentive to the safety regulations regarding covid. Athletes are doing what they can to make sure campus remains open and for all sports teams to have a well-deserved season. Captain Shearer expressed that, “as a captain this year, [he is] trying to make sure everyone does their best to stay safe and healthy. [Tennis] has a strong team and a good shot at winning [the] conference this year. With this thought in mind, the whole team is focused on getting better and staying safe while doing it. I hope that by the end of the semester we can all look back and see improvement in our play and we can only do that by staying healthy and by following the COVID guidelines.”
By Kailey Reyes