Spring sports prepare for season amid pandemic

While the COVID-19 pandemic continues, spring varsity sports at the University of New Haven are confident that teams will see competition in the coming months. With students returning to campus, the athletic department is looking toward a Feb. 1 start date for practices.

“We are all really excited for it,” junior softball player Mia Iodice said. “Everyone is itching to start back up and get playing again after having a year taken from us.”

Athletes have faced many uncertainties with the season over winter break. With COVID-19 numbers surging across the country, many doubted the chances of playing this spring. On top of this, the Northeast-10’s decision to cancel winter sports was a source of concern.

Regardless, coaches have remained optimistic to keep players prepared for the possible season.

“From everything we’ve seen, we are expecting to play,” Iodice said.

The conference voiced their support for spring sports, with all schools unanimously supporting a return to play during the spring semester, according to their Jan. 13 press release.

Some teams have tried keeping their players close together, even through a screen. Some teams have tried keeping their players close together even through a screen. Junior track and field athlete Ericka McDermott said that their team has conducted workouts over Zoom.

“The workouts on Zoom haven’t been great but they’re as good as we could get,” McDermott said. “It keeps our team together and it has been great to still see everyone.”

For some athletes, finding a workout space has been challenging. Even though gyms have remained open in Connecticut, they are closed elsewhere in the country. For example, gyms in Pennsylvania shut down in December and remained closed until the first week of January.

Now, as February approaches, the season is becoming clearer. Players are entering the final week before in-person classes and are excited for the start of their seasons, even if it will just consist of practice.

However, these practices will look different than normal. For the first couple of weeks, teams will be limited in the number of players practicing together. It will look similar to the teams’ practices last fall.

“It is at the point where we have already gone through all of the precautions,” McDermott said. “Knowing this, we can just focus on being smart and getting to stay on the field. We all just want to start competing again.”