By Jacob Adas | Image by Patil Khakhamian
With Colorado College reopening its doors after a long hiatus, first-year student-athletes, along with some of their upperclassmen teammates, are getting ready to resume training for their respective sports. Given the myriad of new norms in the world due to the pandemic, the CC Athletics Department has adapted, creating new protocols for its athletes in order to allow them to return to doing what they love.
The Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC), home conference of CC’s Division III teams, as well as the Mountain West (MW), home conference of the women’s Division I soccer team, have postponed their fall sports. This affects CC’s soccer, volleyball, cross country, and tennis teams. SCAC also decided to postpone winter sports until at least the second semester. With all these seasons in jeopardy, Tiger athletes and coaches are making sure to not give up hope, allowing for off-season training so athletes can be prepared for a potential spring season.
Anthony Weber, head coach of the men’s and women’s tennis teams, said that he is hopeful for the spring season while acknowledging how unique this year will be.
“It will likely be a different experience,” Weber said. “While the sport is distanced, travel is not … and travel is impacted by those changing state laws.”
For tennis, a sport that is socially distanced, competing isn’t the issue. It’s the travel that presents the biggest problem, as most SCAC teams are located in Texas. Weber does not envision too many changes to regular practices. Masks are to be worn by the coaches at all times and by athletes during light exercise. Athletes also must maintain six feet of distance from one another and maintain 10 feet of distance during athletic activities.
Although not having a fall season may seem like a complete disappointment for most, Weber views it as “a silver lining that our competition dates were cancelled this fall.”
“There isn’t a rush to get in shape for some of those long weekends,” Weber said. “We will have fewer practice days during the week, and gradually get in shape for the spring.”
With extra time to prepare for their respective seasons, Tiger athletes may be able to use this break from competition to be in the best shape possible when their seasons do become a reality. Apart from practice, student athletes are able to take advantage of the varsity gym and train with the strength and conditioning coaches.
Lifts are planned for the fall semester, and there are many precautions in place. “We are following the direction of the NCAA Core Principles of Resocialization of Collegiate Sport,” Emily Andersen, Assistant Strength Coach, said. “As of right now, we are limiting the number of student-athletes allowed in the weight room to give people the chance to spread out more. Everyone is required to wear a mask and each hour-long session has a 10-15-minute buffer time built in, before the next session, to give the coaches a chance to disinfect everything that was used in the training session.”
There are also daily temperature checks and anyone with a temperature reading at or above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit is not allowed into the gym. The coaches are committed to ensuring a positive experience for student-athletes, while also prioritizing the safety of the athletes and the larger college community.
With the weight room now open, athletes on campus are able to train. That being said, the strength coaches are also still making sure that those athletes who are not on campus can also continue to train. Since the spring, the Strength and Conditioning department has been using a fitness app called Volt Athletics to reach off-campus students. This app allows CC student-athletes to sign in through their school email, and complete their workouts in the comfort of their homes.
“Volt has played a vital role in the speed at which we can give our student-athletes workouts to do at home,” Andersen said. “We didn’t have to struggle to send everyone a packet through email, with exercises that the student-athletes may or may not know, and with equipment they may or may not have. For the at-home athlete, Volt provides videos of each exercise, an option to replace the exercise if needed.”
As some athletes, like track athlete Marilyn Jackson ’22, decide not to return to campus in the fall, technology has enabled coaches to not worry too much and create workout plans to ensure their athletes are ready if a spring season does occur.
“I sort of considered athletics,” Jackson said. “With Volt being online and my coach sending us workouts, I felt fine in my choice. Plus, my season is in the spring, so I wasn’t too worried about it.”
With so much uncertainty in 2020, there is one thing that you can be certain of. Tiger athletes are doing whatever it takes to stay in shape, prepping for a potential spring season while keeping themselves and the Tiger community safe.