Salisbury University plans to hold practices and games for the spring and fall sports season with new health and safety protocols in place.
With the original fall season postponed and basketball finishing a shortened season, spring and fall Sports teams at SU go into this season unsure, but hopeful.
Dr. Gerry DiBartolo is the Director of Athletics and Campus Recreation at Salisbury University. He said staff and student athletes have done well thus far following protocols.
“I am very confident, as important as this is to [the student athletes], that they are going to try and follow the rules,” DiBartolo said. “Our number one priority is the health and safety of those student athletes.”
The assurance of safety includes several new protocols.
In similar fashion to the winter season, DiBartolo said fall and spring athletes are required to be tested weekly, to wear masks during practice and to bring their own water bottle among other precautions.
Additionally, locker room showers will not be used for the fall and spring sports.
Players and coaches said they feel comfortable playing with the steps Salisbury is taking to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Randy Halfpap, Salisbury men’s tennis coach, said being able to play motivates student athletes to make smart decisions in their free time, as they do not want to jeopardize their season.
“Ensuring that they’re [student athletes] being as safe a possible, puts them in the best possible situation,” Halfpap said.
Allowing fans to attend games in-person is still being debated. While the current ruling is that fans are not allowed, DiBartolo said it is subject to change.
Parents and fans will still be able to watch the teams play via live broadcasting by the Sea Gull Sports Network.
Senior infielder Cullen McAullife is hopeful that fans will still tune in and support the Sea Gull baseball team once back on the field. The team is eager to play and McAullife said it will be “worth the watch.”
Senior women’s lacrosse defender Carrie Hesen said she was heartbroken after last spring season was cancelled due to COVID-19.
“To be able to play games, I’m just excited and so thankful that we have this opportunity,” Hesen said.
Hesen said limited locker room capacity affects their pre-game ritual to get “fired up”, but the team is doing what they can to find alternatives and keep those connections while social distancing.
Others said they also felt fortunate to have a season, even if it will be unusual.
“If we’re playing, I want to play,” Patrick MacLean, senior on the men’s tennis team, said. “I can’t imagine having it taken away from me and then just not playing this year.”
For Hesen and the women’s lacrosse team, there is a single word that defines their goals for this season:
“This year our word is ‘conquer’,” Hesen said. “It means no matter the situation, whether it’s sports, school, life in general… we just have to conquer it no matter what.”
By GEORGIA FOSTER
Staff photo by Brad Boardman.