November just started, which means fall sports are back up and running despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Track and field began practicing on Nov. 9, with new adaptations made in order to assure safety.
Junior pole vaulter Ethan Ide discussed the changes that have been made to practices to ensure safety. He said, “There has been a shift of responsibility for the players… It’s sort of expected that the athletes take on some level of responsibility to improve on their own.”
Senior 1600 and 800 meter runner Arjun Vadgama added, “Practice is three mornings a week and we also run on our own the other days. Practices are 1 hour long runs with a mix of speed, distance, and hills depending on the day. The coaches have instituted a mandatory mask requirement.”
When asked about the challenges the adaptations are causing, senior Arjun Vadgama pointed out, “Now it takes longer to begin practice, as well as the workouts we are able to do because our facilities are limited to two parks.” This raises the question of how all the new restrictions will affect the productivity of the practices.
Senior 1600m, 800m and 3200m runner Zach Zambrano is also concerned with how individualized team practices have become. He stated, “With workouts it’s hard because it’s easier to be in a group so we can push each ourselves and improve together as a team rather than individually.”
Junior one mile and two mile runner Dane Utley said, “It is of course less fun to run distanced from friends, and it can be hard to get air wearing masks when we run by people on the trails. However, we are very grateful as a team to be able to practice together.”
While the competition schedule has yet to be finalized, meets are tentatively set to start around February. With a rise in United States COVID-19 cases, it may be a while longer until the meets start. However, Loyola, in addition to the athletes, is taking the matter extremely seriously, and everyone is thankful to be back at practice.