By Olivia Sothoron
The COVID-19 pandemic has put many events on hold across the country, including fall athletics at the collegiate level. On Wednesday, July 15, St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) announced that varsity sports and competition are suspended for the fall 2020 semester. The email from Dean Derek Young explained that intramural sports would be offered to help “fill the role played by varsity athletic competition and club sports in the lives of all SMCM students.”
Although their fall season was canceled, many sports teams at SMCM continue to practice in small groups, adhering to the social distance guidelines implemented by the College. Members of the field hockey team are often seen carrying around their sticks, soccer players can be seen walking back from the Jamie L. Roberts Stadium sporting their shin guards and knee socks and cross country runners might zoom by on the path as they complete their own workouts.
Despite the cancellation of meets and team practices, the SMCM Cross Country team has been holding frequent meetings over Zoom to allow new team members to bond with returners through icebreaker games and Kahoots. In addition, the assistant coach has been sending out workouts each month to ensure that his athletes are remaining in shape during the absence of meets and team practices.
Lindsey Stevenson (‘21) has been running since ninth grade and has been a member of the SMCM Cross Country team since her freshman year. She stated that in order to stay in shape this season, she will “run or hike off campus at Historic City, the trails, and St. Mary’s Lake.” Stevenson is also looking forward to starting small team practices in the near future.
After the College closed in the spring for the pandemic, Stevenson remained on campus for her job, which allowed her to make use of the beautiful St. Mary’s scenery on her daily walks and runs. She stated, “Almost every day of the week, I would go for a run or walk in the morning before work or class. I ran through Historic St. Mary’s City, on the Historic Woodland trails, and at St. Mary’s Lake State Park. I also did a virtual workout class with Christine Primm (an awesome workout instructor at St. Mary’s) three days a week.”
Izzy Hermans (‘22) has been running for twelve years and has been a member of the Cross Country team since her freshman year at SMCM. As a remote learner this semester, Hermans is able to stay connected with her teammates through the Zoom meetings, as well as through her participation in the workouts from her home. She explained: “I have been running on the trails near my house and doing ab workouts with my sisters in my basement. Since my neighborhood pool opened in late June, I’ve been doing swim workouts as well.”
Although this season looks very different from previous years, Hermans still has many great memories of her time thus far as a member of the SMCM Cross Country team. She mentioned that her favorite memory was last fall during their preseason training. She said: “[preseason] gave me all a chance to bond with the new team members and reacquaint myself with old friends without the stress of classes. Spending all day at the docks is an added bonus.” She also enjoys the long bus trips and overnight stays for meets, which allow the team to spend time together and enjoy each other’s company.
Although it is difficult–especially for the seniors–to miss out on meets and competitions, members of the SMCM Cross Country team are making the most of the difficult situation through their weekly Zoom calls and their strict training schedules.