By Bailey Pennycuff / Co-Sports Editor

Just as every other aspect in life is changing, and norms are shifting daily, many Hutchinson Community College athletes are feeling the unnaturalness of these times.

Typically, fall sports would be in full swing this time of year. Football, volleyball and soccer would be playing games regularly, traveling and practicing routinely. However, due to COVID-19, the NJCAA moved most fall and winter sports to the spring, and Blue Dragon football, volleyball and soccer will not be playing any official games until spring. Only the cross country teams and golf team will play in regular events.

Sophomore football player Zy Strong said dealing with the pushed-back season “sucks” and “many things are different this year.”

Instead of practicing every day, the football team lifts weights twice a week, and does not practice on those days.

“When we’re at practice, we don’t even do a lot of running plays and stuff – it’s really been mostly technique stuff. Lots of little things we can work on,” Strong said.

One aspect that will not change very much from previous years is how many football players transfer schools at semester.

“If we actually even get a season this year, it’s gonna be different than who we have now, because so many sophomores are leaving at semester,” Strong said.

A lot of football players’ recruitment has hit a wall, due to the pandemic and the setback of the season.

“I mean, I think I’ll be OK because I have 11 offers, but there’s a lot of guys who are seriously depending on this spring season for going somewhere else after Hutch,” Strong said. “Yes, we can all still talk on the phone to all these coaches, but it’s not like they can come watch us play or anything.”

The women’s soccer team is another typical fall season sport facing the wrath of COVID-19 precautions.

“I’ve played soccer since I was 3, and have never had a season off, so it’s sad right now,” freshman Bailey Clark said. “I seriously miss being on the field.”

Experiencing the college-life environment is something that most student-athletes enjoy, but – you guessed it … not this year.
“It sucks having to miss out on stuff and some events to make sure we all stay healthy,” Clark said. “But, it is worth it if we get to play in the spring.”

The soccer team is practicing three days a week at 6 a.m.

“Honestly, I think the pushed-back season will positively affect our season. It gives us more time to bond and get in shape,” Clark said.

Teams are hoping to actually have their full season this spring, but right now, the fall sport athletes are feeling a little out of whack.

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