Washington College student-athletes adjust to a virtual fall semester

By Tyler Schwarzman 

Elm Staff Writer 

The cancellation of athletics and transition to online learning put Washington College student-athletes in uncharted territory this semester. 

Student-athletes living at home during this online semester are adapting to their unique situations by finding ways to stay ready to compete whenever their next season begins. 

Some athletes are able to continue practicing while still being at home. Some sports are easier to play alone, like basketball or soccer. Freshman WC basketball player, Jason Zielinski plays outdoor basketball, runs, and lifts weights every day at his home. 

“I was lucky enough to find a soccer team in my area to train and play some tournaments with to keep getting touches on the ball,”  said freshman soccer player Grace Kelly. 

And Sophomore field hockey player Madison Hackett has been able to practice at home with her three sisters. 

There are some difficulties due to the pandemic and online classes that athletes are running into, though. 

“It is sometimes difficult to get to the pool and gym when I want to,” senior captain of the women’s swim team Allison Gallagher said. She often takes advantage of a local playground with equipment that she found this past summer in order to get her workouts in.

It can also be challenging to work around class times. Time management skills are a key component for success this semester. 

But WC student-athletes currently living in Chestertown are hoping to be able to practice and lift in small groups on campus this fall. Currently, only student-athletes can workout alone in the facilities while following CDC guidelines. 

“Student-athletes have to realize this pandemic is bigger than sports and that lives are at risk, so we must be patient and remain cautious,” senior captain of the men’s lacrosse team Jeremy Wilson said.

A substantial amount of WC student-athletes have moved back to Chestertown to complete their online classes and take advantage of the safe, open facilities. 

Freshman baseball player Nick Tamberino is planning on moving into the Holiday Inn in Chestertown at the end of September so that he can hopefully participate in team lifts and practices. 

Junior volleyball players Jenna Daunoras and Jensyn Hartzell moved back to Chestertown a few weeks ago to also participate.

Student-athletes are keeping up with team workouts thanks to the TeamBuildr app, whether in Chestertown or at home.

TeamBuildr is an app that all WC student-athletes have; it is where they receive their workout schedules from head strength and conditioning coach, Nick Triano.

Zielinski said the basketball team has divided itself into smaller groups in order to facilitate discussion about their workouts and to hold each other accountable. 

This app also helps students manage their time while adjusting to a new schedule because athletes can view their workout schedule in advance and plan ahead of when to do it according to school work. 

“So far, the online semester has been very time consuming and is more work than in person classes typically are,” Gallagher said.

“Online school is easier after going through it in the spring already,” Junior baseball player Max Ruvo said. 

Similarly to a normal semester, student-athletes do have some free time. Teams at Washington are finding ways to stay connected, primarily over the phone, through Zoom, or social media. 

Several coaches are also hosting weekly or monthly team Zoom meetings to give updates and converse with their players. 

“These meetings really help reinforce and build team culture,” Ruvo said

“I feel especially close with the other teammates in my grade, and the upperclassmen are always checking in on us,” Kelly said.  

Although adjusting well, Washington College’s student-athletes are still hopeful and preparing for a return to campus with regular classes and a “normal” second semester this spring.

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