NICK THOMPSON, TRUMPET SPORTS WRITER
The upcoming Winter Term will continue the difficulty in making sure that all athletes stay healthy.
More sports will be happening and most will be indoors — men’s and women’s basketball and wrestling — due to the winter weather. Additionally, volleyball, football and men’s and women’s soccer will be competing in the spring after their seasons were pushed back from the fall.
The weight room has already gone through some policy changes this fall but other facilities have yet to make adaptations.
“There will be significant facility challenges in the months of February, March and April. It will be much more challenging for our support staff with more sports competing at the same time, specifically our athletic trainers and sports information staff,” Rick Willis, Wartburg athletic director, said. “The capacity limitations have been challenging for the weight room times and have required some adjustments. Other facilities will be more challenged in the spring than they have been this fall.”
COVID-19 also forced regular trips around the country to be canceled. The wrestling team will not be going to Las Vegas to host their annual Desert Duals this year. Both the softball and baseball teams normally go to Florida to begin their seasons in February or March. Both are now going to other states to play early spring games.
“We will be taking two weekend trips to St. Louis in February, and another to Memphis in early March,” Darren Kilpatrick, fourth-year baseball pitcher, said.
“Normally, over Winter Break, which falls in late February or early March, we travel somewhere south to start playing games. The past five seasons we’ve gone to Florida and have played 12 games. This season, we are scheduled to travel to Georgia and Alabama,” Jamie Mueller, Wartburg’s head softball coach, said.
In past seasons, both the men’s and women’s basketball teams would have a month’s worth of practices done by Thanksgiving . By this time last year, the men’s basketball team had a scrimmage against an outside opponent. Neither the men’s or women’s team have finalized plans for what they are going to be doing after Thanksgiving break.
“It’s evident our guys want to be on the court and I know our coaching staff is elated to be out there with them. We have not discussed nor do we want to dwell on any negatives because this will only hold back our progress,” Dick Peth, Wartburg’s head men’s basketball coach, said. “The mental approach is truly more important this year. Currently, this is our ‘new normal’ and we have no control over what changes will occur in the upcoming weeks. Therefore, we prepare as a team to get better for the challenges that lie ahead.”
Bob Amsberry, head women’s basketball coach, echoed Peth’s approach.
“Practices are very good. We have outstanding leadership from our returning players and a very talented and motivated group of freshmen. Our approach and preparation to be the best that we can remains unchanged,” Amsberry, said. “We don’t worry about things out of our control. We don’t talk about winning and losing. We work to continue to grow and develop and to become the best team that we can on a daily basis”
This upcoming spring season will also look different for the baseball team. Due to the difficulties that lie with trying to find out-of-conference opponents, changes will have to be made to the regular season schedule.
“It’s been proposed that we extend our conference schedule to a four-game series with each team rather than a three-game series as we have in the past. While that’s not official yet, our spring schedule will certainly be abnormal,” Kilpatrick said.
The end of Fall Term is already different. Students head home for Thanksgiving and stay there to conduct finals virtually. Most fall sports usually stay on campus during that time.
“We always expect ourselves to be competing and preparing for the playoffs during that week,” Cole Bollweg, third-year football player, said. “Given the odd circumstances this semester, most of us have not gone home much due to the possibility of spreading COVID-19, so it will be nice to go and see family and spend quality time with them.”
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