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Putting in the Hard Yards

Green Knight athletes continue to pursue excellence as they wait to learn from conference leaders when competition in their respective sports can resume. “My message to the kids is, whoever wins the COVID period is going to win and dominate when we do get to play,” states Davin Roach, who interacts with a cross-section of athletes in his role as strength and performance coach. “Overall, we have a pretty dedicated group. We’re still competing – just not competing right now.”

Fall activities evolved as athletes progressed through a 14-day gating period and into various levels of restricted interaction.

Swimming and diving have been able to get back to normal training relatively quickly by virtue of the natural physical distancing that occurs in the pool. The same cannot be said for the cheer squad, led by McKenna Kaminski ’19, which relies on lifts and stunts that require close personal contact. Instead, team members focused on strength workouts and cardio sessions. Their first 14 practices featured a limit of 10 individuals at a time. “We’re preparing for basketball in case it happens, just like we prepared for football in case that happened,” Kaminski told the magazine in late fall. Mental health is a significant focus for a squad tasked with bringing energy to sporting events. “I commend them for the appreciation they have for just practicing,” Kaminski says. “They’re coming in with their best effort and best attitude. They’re laughing and having fun. Cheer is the best distraction to decompress from what’s going on.”

Likewise, dance coach Natalie Wheeler ’15 has focused on individual skill development rather than refining competition routines. A different team member each week choreographs an eight-count dance routine, including less-common styles such as jazz.

Track and cross-country coach Don Augustine held intrasquad meets for both sports. “The kids are in really good shape, and I feel badly about them not being able to see what that would look like in a competition,” Augustine says.

The women’s golf team, coached by John Sabo ’07, was able to practice regularly thanks to the natural physical distancing of the sport. They, too, kept sharp with intrasquad tournaments – with full uniforms – that included a Ryder Cup-style event between split squads. “We would still rather be competing, but we made the best of it,” Sabo says.

Jan. 15, 2021