Student Athletes Excited to Have Returned to Practice

Bridgewater College Athletics Completed Their First Official Week of Practices

Women+Field+Hockey

Photo by BC Eagles Athlete

Sport practices resumed on Monday, Sept. 28, after a two week delay due to a rise in COVID-19 cases. All athletics teams, including the women field hockey team (pictured here), are still required to maintain social distancing regulations and mask wearing when not in a drill.

Jordan Davis, Staff Writer

Bridgewater, Va. – Student athletes and coaches received word on Friday, Sept. 24 that they were able to begin practice on Monday, Sept. 28, after a two week delay due to a rise in COVID-19 cases. 

“I was let down when we found out sports would be postponed, but I understand why the decision was made and applaud the athletics department for making a tough decision that was in the best interest of all of us,” explained Erin Fitzpatrick, senior sprinter and jumper on the women’s track and field team. “I came back to campus to be a caption to my team so it has been a difficult semester so far dealing with the unknowns.”

When Student Life extended the deadline to apply for complete online learning, coaches were unable to mandate that their team stay on campus due to the understanding of financial, personal, or health issues. The loss of students across the student body and the athletic department was significantly evident, especially for the women’s field hockey team. 

“We only have seven people on campus right now so we are limited as far as what we can do at practice,” explained Meredyth Rankin, sophomore midfielder on the women’s field hockey team. Rankin further explained that the low numbers limit the practice drills they are able to complete. 

After Bridgewater College decided to permit practices, student athletes have stormed the field, gym, and weight room.  

“My main goal before I graduate has always been to win nationals as a team,” expresses Jaden Bynum, transfer student on the equestrian team. “Now with COVID as a set-back, I still plan to work extremely hard to improve individually now that we lost our fall season.”

After the first official week of practices, the Bridgewater community has seen fewer attendances on outside parks like Monger and Oakdale park — which is where students went to play pick up and practice with the campus fields closed. 

“During the two weeks, I went every day to Oakdale Park to shoot around with friends and teammates.” said Erika Nettles, junior power forward on the women’s basketball team. 

Considering practices have officially begun, all athletics teams are still required to maintain social distancing regulations and mask wearing when not in a drill. Athletic teams are now split up into groups of pods and are required to wash or wipe down all equipment used, even balls. 

“Practice has been great so far and it feels good to feel somewhat like an athlete again and get back into some sort of a routine,” explains Kenneth McCray, junior quarterback on the football team. “The differences come in when you realize that your whole team is not practicing with you and the timing for certain things is a bit awkward.”

As student athletes return to a semi-normal way of practice organization and schedules, according to Cameron Williams, junior guard on the men’s basketball team, this team has not begun practices yet however he is using this time to fully recover from an older injury. 

However, looming over all student athletes’ heads is the decision of the ODAC board to determine if teams will either attempt to complete a full season and lose a year of eligibility or complete half a season and retain their eligibility year.

“I would prefer completing half a season because I do not want any of my colleagues to lose a year of eligibility due to the unknowns.” Said Kaia Richardson, sophomore midfielder on the women’s soccer team.