This past week, Westmont students had the opportunity of deciding if they wanted to go home for the Thanksgiving holiday or stay on campus. With the cancellation of the four-day break in October, the administration decided to extend Thanksgiving break to a week. While most of the student population went home for Thanksgiving, some athletes had to stay on campus for their sport.
Each sport had a specific plan, so the protocols varied based on each team’s particular needs. Some athletes remained on campus, while others were permitted to go home.
Before the break, I asked each of the coaches what Thanksgiving was going to look like for their team.
Cross country and track and field were using the break as a rest for both of the teams, getting them prepared for the week when they return.
Coach Smelley said, “Thanksgiving week is a break from training for the cross country team and a recovery week for track and field.” He continued, “I’m hoping the team can enjoy a break at home and garner the energy for the final three weeks of classes.”
Using the holiday as a break was a common theme for a few of the teams, who are utilizing the extra time for rest and quality time with their families.
Women’s volleyball coach Ruth McGoplin gave a similar sentiment when talking about her team.
“We are giving the team the entire week off like the rest of the student body. We then will come back, get tested, and get back to training until the semester ends.”
Coach Dave Wolf, head coach for the men’s soccer team, talked about how the time off would be good for the new players on the team.
“We are letting our team go home over Thanksgiving break. With so many new players (10), we thought it was most healthy for them to see their families after what has been, most obviously, a very challenging semester and start to their college careers.”
While all of these coaches let their players return home for a bit of rest, there were a couple teams that stayed on campus to continue practice and play.
Momentum was the reason for keeping the players over break for swim coach Jillian Jones.
“I’m keeping my team on campus for Thanksgiving. We have good momentum right now and a pool to swim in so we can keep training until Christmas break without having to do any quarantining/pod training.”
Lastly, men’s basketball actually had a game over the break, so it was vital that the athletes remained on campus in preparation for their big game against NCAA Division 1 Cal State Northridge.
“Thanksgiving will be a busy week for us,” head coach Landon Boucher exclaimed. “We are playing at Cal State Northridge on Nov. 25 then spending Thanksgiving together in a safe way outdoors.”
As the students and athletes at Westmont return from Thanksgiving and get tested for COVID-19, they will continue to push through the last few weeks in anticipation of the Christmas holiday, where new challenges of endurance and safety await.