As Pandemic Continues Spring Sports Still Hopeful

Jackson Dixon, Contributing Writer

The decision to cancel all fall and winter sports was made by the PSAC University Presidents on November 17. However, they still remain hopeful that spring sports will go on as planned.

Spring sports have begun, with strength-and-conditioning practices to prepare for the upcoming seasons, with some precautions in place to keep the athletes COVID-19-free. Baseball has been practicing four times a week, for an hour at a time. Before practices, players get their temperatures checked as well as complete a wellness check.

In addition, to minimize risk of the COVID-19 virus spreading, players are also separated into groups during practice. During batting practice, groups of only seven or eight players can use the batting cages at the same time. Pitchers are separated into even smaller groups of two or three players. In a normal season, the team would practice five times a week, with all 40 players on the team practicing together.

Last season, before the cancellation due to the pandemic, Bloomsburg’s baseball team was 9-1 and ready to make a splash in the postseason. This season however, they just want to play. There are five returning seniors on the last year of their eligibility, hoping that the season will be played. BU. baseball coach, Mike Collins said that the biggest hurdle for his team is just knowing that the season is completely out of their control. He noted that the team was doing everything the right way and following all precautionary measures to have the best shot at having a season.

Women’s Lacrosse is facing a similar dilemma in trying to condition as a team while social distancing and masking up.  Masks are a big topic of discussion among the team, as BU. lacrosse coach, Shannon Hertz acknowledged. Furthermore, coach Hertz indicated that the biggest challenge her team faces while practicing in a pandemic, is conditioning while wearing masks. She further explained that a number of her players do not like having to wear one while working out. Yet, Hertz described herself as a “COVID crazy”. If any player is feeling even slightly under the weather, she will tell them to stay home, whereas in previous years, she would have wanted her players to push through it and come to practice. However, temperatures are taken before practice as a measure of precaution, regardless of how the players feel.

Coach Hertz remains optimistic for their season though, stating, “We are trying to stay positive and hope that next season will happen. Focusing on the glass being “half full.” The women’s lacrosse team has only one returning senior using her fifth year of eligibility, compared to the baseball teams five returning seniors.

While the spring sports seasons are up in the air, teams seem to remain hopeful for their seasons. According to Dr. Michael McFarland, Bloomsburg University Athletic Director, a decision is expected to be made in late January, although nothing is set in stone yet.