Saint Martin’s track coaches reflect on loss of athletic season

Kierrla Yates, Staff Writer

On Aug. 5th, the NCAA determined there would be no championships for any of the fall sports in the GNAC. Photo retrieved from Twitter.com

At the start of 2020 no one would have guessed that school would be online, there would be a worldwide pandemic, and athletes would be practicing in small group “pods.” With this, athletes and coaches alike are finding it hard to play-on. Saint Martin’s University head track coach Jim Brewer and assistant track coach Scott Carter shared several of their thoughts on coaching through the pandemic. They both shared the challenges, the precautions taken, and the positive outlook it takes to make practice possible. 

Both coaches explained that they had feelings of unease coming into the start of the new school year. Coach Brewer highlighted that there was much unclarity about what the fall would look like with athletes and students coming back to campus. He explained, “I had no idea what to expect,” which made him question, “how can you prepare for something that’s never happened?” The unease that came with this uncertainty was mutual between both coaches and some of their athletes. 

Coach Carter depicted that his biggest worry before returning to campus was how the athletes could return to practice safely. However, Carter went on and said, “Since we’ve been here practicing, things have been going a lot easier than I expected them to.” 

Training has been impacted heavily due to the pandemic. Normal practices are being conducted in pods with athletes working out in masks while social distancing. The focus of training has shifted for the cross-country athletes as well. After losing their track season in the spring, athletes who run cross country also lost their fall season. Now, the indoor track season is in question, which would mean most distance athletes in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference would have missed three seasons, which can be devastating for athletes. Coach Brewer explained that for some, this notion has made them rethink their plans for the future. Coach Brewer continued to explain that the National Collegiate Athletic Association has offered athletes an option to return and make up those cancelled seasons, however for most athletes, staying in school that long would be too expensive.

With big decisions, online/hybrid classes, and restrictions piling upon each other, both Coach Brewer and Coach Carter have been worried about the welfare and health of their athletes. Carter said, “When everything was taken away so quickly and everyone had to adjust to the pandemic in their own way, all the coaching staff has been worried and focused on the mental health of the athletes.” 

Even now when we are back on campus, both coaches are trying to figure out ways to keep the athletes connected and motivated to work hard. Brewer has found that, “If there’s any kind of theme this year, it’s flexibility. Flexibility and patience with one another.” He shared that as a coach he felt showing patience and being kind with the athletes is the best way to make it through the challenging times. Both coaches explained that they were proud of how their athletes have responded to the ever-coming changes and their positive attitudes. 

Despite all the chaos, Carter shared, “I am honestly amazed with how positive my athletes have been.” In the end, these unprecedented challenges mean adapting, learning, and caring for those around us is how you make it through uncertain times.

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