Many of Elizabethtown College’s student athletes have been anticipating the return of their respective sports in the Spring 2021 semester. For many student athletes, this past year has been full of frustration, starting in March when their seasons were cut short by the pandemic.
“When I heard that the season [was being] cut short I was beyond devastated,” sophomore cross country runner Sagar Patel said. “All [the] miles that I put in over the past few months felt as if they went to waste.”
The NCAA is giving all student athletes an additional year of eligibility in lieu of the effects COVID-19 has had on these individuals. However, some students do not feel that this extra year of eligibility will be useful for them.
“It just feels like something was taken from us,” sophomore basketball player Drew Riley said. “Whether we get a year of eligibility back or not, most likely guys at this level won’t use it and will just finish their degrees as planned. We know we’ll never play with the same group of guys all together again.”
However, now that Etown’s campus is open once again, many sports are beginning to hold practices and spring teams are preparing for the beginning of their seasons. An indoor and outdoor mask protocol is in place for all athletic teams in addition to weekly COVID-19 testing to keep athletes safe and healthy.
All of the college’s fall teams — soccer, field hockey, and women’s volleyball — began practices Monday, Feb. 22. Winter teams — basketball, swimming, and wrestling — began practices this past Monday, March 1. Some spring teams — men’s lacrosse, track & field/cross country, golf and tennis — are also beginning practices Monday, March 1. The remaining spring teams — men’s volleyball, softball, baseball and women’s lacrosse — all began practices Feb. 15.
Most teams, such as men’s lacrosse, have abbreviated schedules for their seasons. “As of now we are only playing in conference games,” sophomore men’s lacrosse player Micah Ballew said.
This is different from a typical season for the team where they would play both conference and non-conference games. For the first two weeks of the season in March, the team can only practice as groups. Further down the road, however, they will be allowed to practice altogether as a team.
Much like everything else in our lives, sports will look a little different this semester due to COVID-19 complications. However, it is safe to say that Etown’s student athletes are excited to practice with their teammates and enjoy their respective sports.