COVID-19 and its effect on Saint Martins student athletes

Ryne Oshiro, Staff Writer

Some Saint Martin’s athletic teams, including the women’s basketball team, have been able to continue practicing this semester. Photo retrieved from SMUSaints.com

The current pandemic has brought many surprises and unique experiences for student athletes at Saint Martin’s University. With all of the changes in the current world, athletes have been forced to find new routines and “norms” when juggling both academics and their respective sport. For student athletes, Tierney DeDonatis, Mallory Vivola, and Katherine Swor, COVID-19 has affected every aspect of their lives beyond sports. .

How have these student-athletes been handling the balance during the current pandemic within their sport and academics? DeDonatis, a senior guard for the Women’s Basketball team, said, “I would say I’ve been handling the balance but trying to stay focused more on the things I have to do rather than what’s happening around me. trying to put all my time and effort into school and basketball.” 

For many, sports and academics seem to take away all that is happening in the world. Just like everyone else, DeDonatisis trying to find that balance. “We’re sticking together and overcoming any changes thrown our way,” she said. Her teammate, Vivola, also believes that the current pandemic has become the new normal. She stated, “I feel like we have no choice but to adapt.”

Since there are so many “what if’s,” athletes have no choice but to adapt and seemingly go with the flow. Swor, a junior on the Women’s Golf team, commented about her balance of school and athletics.

“Honestly, it’s been hard to balance schoolwork and golf during a pandemic. At first, I thought that everything had gotten easier with the shift. Yet, I am so exhausted on all levels with the amount of homework I now get, but this is a good time to sharpen my time-management skills,” said Swor.

As far as practice, it seems that both the golf and basketball teams have put extensive COVID-19 precautions in place. Vivola shared, “At practices there are more health precautions which are definitely positives. I feel really safe in the gym.”

DeDonatis explained that “practice is very different but in my opinion our team is doing a really great job of adjusting to the changes. It’s difficult wearing a mask during practice and as much as we’d all rather not we are super good about keeping it on.”

For Swor, the 2020-2021 golf season was cancelled due to the pandemic and she shared, “Since the golf team is not traveling or competing at tournaments this semester, we are all working through this transition together. Recently, the men’s and women’s teams have been teaming up to compete in mini tournaments/matches with one another. This is a very fun experience and I believe that it challenges each player and their skills during a round.”

This little competition is what Swor believes will help both the men and women’s team to keep their motivation for the upcoming years. At this moment, it is hard to know what’s in store for these athletes, but for now they stick to their grind waiting for their moment to rise again.

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