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The Aquilian

The Aquilian

Gonzaga athletics adapts to uncertainty

Gonzagas+weight+room%2C+which+is+usually+packed+like+this+with+athletes%2C+is+completely+empty+this+year.++%28Photo+from+Gonzaga+Flickr%29
Gonzaga’s weight room, which is usually packed like this with athletes, is completely empty this year. (Photo from Gonzaga Flickr)

For Gonzaga sports, the month of February usually entails winter teams gearing up for a playoff push while their spring counterparts are preparing for tryouts. This year, as everyone knows, is far from the ordinary. With Covid-19 still affecting high school sports around the Washington, D.C. area, Gonzaga’s teams have to react and quickly adapt to changing restrictions.  

Everything from the conditioning and preparation to college recruitment has been pretty much all virtual with the exception of a few teams that were able to get a few live workouts this fall. This especially affects student-athletes who are trying to play at the college level. Limited games and not being able to meet with coaches in person has made it extremely difficult for them to get exposure. Gonzaga’s coaches have also felt increased pressure trying to get as much film of their players out as possible. Mr. Joe Reyda, director of athletics, has been at the center of all this and is appreciative of how well everyone has handled the adversity.

“We have 36 seniors from the class of 2021 that have committed to play their respective sport in college. A big thank you to all the coaches for their hard work in these times being able to secure commitments for the kids,” Mr. Reyda said. 

Still, with spring sports set to start April 12, coaches ponder on how to best prepare their players so they can hit the ground running. The lacrosse program, headed by Mr. Casey O’Neil, assistant director of athletics, has been doing weekly film sessions to ensure everyone is mentally ready for the spring.

With no organized team lifts, it could be easy for athletes to slack off. Mr. Marcus Taylor, strength and conditioning coach, has helped greatly with posting daily workouts for teams on Instagram

Athletes find themselves with extra responsibility. This can often be hard for young guys who may still be trying to establish themselves in a program. 

“Yeah, it’s definitely tough. Not knowing what’s ahead is difficult, but all I can focus on is what I can control — making sure I am ready,” said Jack Teushal, sophomore, who plays hockey and golf. 

This is an important message for all players and coaches. A lot of things are out of reach, but working hard, staying mentally sharp, and keeping a positive mindset are not. These are areas everyone can work on. Coaches advise that athletes should control what they can control. Keeping morale up is the best anyone can do right now.

“Hang in there. There is light at the end of the tunnel,” Mr. Reyda said.

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