Since March, students have been thrown into a vat COVID-19 related challenges, including distance learning, that has forced them to adapt. Athletes in particular have been hit with major difficulties — seasons cut short and seasons pushed back. They have had to get creative on how to deal with both the pandemic and training on their own.
Sidney Lowry, a junior on the women’s tennis team, described the effects of COVID-19 as “really strange with the tennis courts and gyms being shut down for a couple months.”
She spent most of her summer running, doing workouts with the help of YouTube, and using the limited weight selection she has at home.
Luckily for Lowry, the gyms and courts have now been reopened for about a month. Since then, she said she’s “been in the gym everyday working on my strength, and hitting with whoever is available to practice.”
Lauren Friis, a senior on the women’s volleyball team, described the difficulty of not being able to be present with her team: “It is super weird not being at Westmont right now for volleyball. Our team talks about how much we miss each other and playing all the time.”
Despite her experience the virus and moving online, she continues to persevere amidst the uncertainty of this time by training with a trainer at home.
Though the virus has caused the closing of all the courts around her, Friis still practices by playing beach and grass volleyball.
“Having our season pushed back sucks! There is no other way to put it! But I just want what is best for everyone to keep everyone safe and healthy!” Friis encouraged her fellow peers and fans to be excited to “see some caged animals ready to eat and compete.”
Fortunately for senior Seth Wilmoth, he has been able to stay in Santa Barbara while helping Dr. Sparkman with her research. Wilmoth has continued his training occasionally on the Westmont track, but mostly in open parks or fields around his house.
“Given how my outdoor season ended, I am pretty used to this by now and have managed to get pretty creative with workouts, drills, and lifts.”
Despite his creativity and perseverance, Wilmoth cites “maintaining the motivation and accountability each and every day during this whole process” as the greatest challenge.
Regardless, Wilmoth says that “this is still a great opportunity for myself and the team to become more responsible and resilient athletes leading into this next season.”
With the guidance of Coach Smelley, Wilmoth has emphasized the importance of community through his regular small group Zoom meetings intended to maintain the relationships he has with his teammates.
In the midst of this pandemic, everyone in the Westmont community has experienced losses in one way or another. Nonetheless, the athletes remain optimistic about their upcoming seasons and have proved resourceful in preparing for them.