With “Return to Play” protocols in place, ‘Berg sports looks to make its big comeback
By Samantha Brenner
Senior Staff Writer
With the spring semester underway, Muhlenberg College has taken drastic measures in order to ensure a safe semester. Sports teams have been given specific protocols to follow, enabling them to begin practicing in-person for the first time in months.
Along with the COVID-19 policy the school has imposed, the College has rolled out guidelines for specific teams, labeling each team with different transmission risk levels. Each transmission level is given specific guidelines and phases allowing them to begin practicing with the goal of competing again.
Teams will begin in Phase I, limiting how many athletes are allowed to be together and pushing for practices to be held outside. Teams are aiming to work towards the final phase, Phase IV, when games begin again with the hopes of allowing fans to attend.
As players begin to settle into routines, the excitement and gratitude for sports is shown.
Softball player Sophie Chong ‘21 looks at the small victories as she prepares for her final semester as a Muhlenberg athlete. “After many months of uncertainty, I look forward to having the opportunity to play softball again with my amazing team. I recognize that it is a privilege that we even get to play, so I try to take advantage of every practice, lift, and eventually every game,” says Chong.
Chong is confident in both her team and her coaches as they begin the season. “Coach Maul has done a phenomenal job in making our entire team feel as comfortable as possible. She often reminds us of all of the rules and regulations that are in place which helps limit any confusion. Having this open communication definitely makes our team feel safe.” she added.
With constant reminders from the coaching staff on COVID-19 protocols, the softball team has been able to begin safely and confidently practicing again.
As for the phases, Chong continues to praise the coaching staff for their tireless efforts in planning practices that fit the schools protocols. “Luckily playing a sport with very little contact has given us the opportunity to start practice a week into the semester. We often work in small groups and within these small groups we socially distance and wear masks at all times,” Chong said.
For tennis player Jessica Sommer ‘21, finishing up her senior year with practices is more than she could have asked for. “I am excited about the possibility of finishing up my senior year with the best version of a season possible in the midst of COVID. Tennis has worked with the school to begin socially distanced practices at a local tennis club while the weather outside is still bad,” Sommer said.
Working with the school, the tennis team hopes to practice safely in person with the end goal of playing a few competitions.
Golfer Adam Marcus ‘22 commends the College for all their efforts on having sports this semester. “I appreciate the College’s efforts and willingness to allow us to return to play this semester. I am hopeful that at some point this spring, the circumstances will permit us to compete in some fashion. I am grateful for the opportunity to spend time with my teammates and work on improving my game at practices,” he said.
The golf team has been given access to the Golf Room in the Life Sports Center, where the team has been able to practice individually.
Following the school’s safety measures, the golf team has made their own adjustments in order to keep everyone safe. “Coach Hallman has taken several precautions to ensure our safety this semester. There are capacity restrictions in the Golf Room and masks and social distancing are required at all times. Additionally, when we begin practicing outdoors, these same protocols will be followed,” Marcus continued.
Athletes are looking forward to a successful season, while following thet the guidance of the College.
“The athletic department and President Harring have been absolutely amazing, keeping us in the loop as much as possible and making their athletes feel heard,” said Chong.