The Blue & Gray Press

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Club sports hope to build up teams to pre-COVID numbers

3 min read
athletes on field

UMW Women's Frisbee posing at practice. | Instagram.com

By: Caleb Picard

After a year of no club sports, teams are finally coming back to play together again. This change has been anticipated by club sports ever since varsity sports were recently allowed to return this spring semester. Club sports have been following the same strict regulations as varsity sports and have only been allowed to practice and scrimmage one another. 

“More than any year prior, we need to prepare for this upcoming semester and have a successful year recruiting, especially if we want another chance at making a play at nationals,” says junior economics major, and president of men’s ultimate club Frisbee, Sam Wainwright. In interviews with multiple club leaders some club sports are preparing for the possibility of a new season and are hopeful for rising freshman, sophomore, and juniors who have spent most of their college indoors to join their clubs

Initially, club sport practice requirements included pods of only 10 people allowed to practice together, masks, social distancing, and defensive drills and scrimmages were not permitted. As the season progressed there remained a possibility that these regulations would ease and permit more freedom during practices. Instead, as cases spiked at various times during these past semesters, clubs have been bound by these regulations as varsity sports have more free reign.

With the promise of a normal season this fall there are hopes for fresh faces and new teammates on the field. This promise of growth is a welcome change of pace as men’s ultimate president Sam Wainwright iterated, “Over the past two years we have lost almost half the team, we can’t wait to get out there and play with some new blood.”

Ultimate captains Wainright and Beau DeKoninck, a recent graduate in the business program, have been working on how to recruit and add as many people to their team as possible as they plan to make a run for nationals in both the fall and the spring semesters. The team that once was big enough to have a secondary B-team has had its numbers falter so far to the point that a “full team of 14” struggles immensely, states De Koninck. “After a long year and a half of altering our typical practice style we are looking forward to getting back to normal as more of our teammates get vaccinated,” said De Koninck. 

Club volleyball has also had to make do with Campus Recreation’s increased regulations since the start of COVID. As two generations of students have graduated during the pandemic, teams are suffering from a lack of experience and loss of teammates from graduation. Club volleyball has attempted to substitute this loss of experience with staying in shape. 

President of club volleyball, junior economics major Quinn Lipetz, shared about how the team has been practicing more often and for longer times in hopes of a successful return to the court. “This semester we have increased our practice times to two hours and meet once a week in hopes of building up our team,” said Lipitz. 

After losing numerous seniors with years of experience, the biggest thing for club volleyball is getting back on the court and practicing. With a bunch of fresh faces the biggest need for the team is experience.The team currently trying to find a time and place this summer to reunite the players and help them stay in shape and continue to succeed as a close knit group of friends and teammates.

As a sense of normalcy returns alongside the increased number of vaccinated students, the hope grows that sporting events that make club sports a family return will return to normalcy as well.

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