By Ben Short
Covid-19 has affected a lot of people in negative ways. But the effects haven’t all been negative. For example, for college athletes, it gave them one extra year of eligibility.
Cortez Braham is a wide receiver for the Blue Dragons and is committed to play football at Buffalo next year. He decided to take up his extra year of eligibility and stay at Hutchinson after conversations with the receiver coach and alumnus Kody Cook.
“I felt like I had unfinished business here at Hutch,” Cortez said. “My position coach, I really trust him a lot, he is the best wide receiver coach in the country, there’s not many like him. I sat down with him and made my decision from there.”
Playing the extra year didn’t come without struggles, as playing in the spring and winning a national championship, and then coming back to a normal schedule and playing in the fall was a battle.
“Yes, I would say it was really tough playing in the spring and turning around to play in the fall,” Braham said about the struggles with coming back. “We had a little longer season because we won the national championship, but that put a lot of stress on your body and makes it easier to get injured so keeping my body healthy and in top shape is really hard as well.”
The extra year helped Braham develop as a player and a recruit. He came to Hutch to get noticed, as he was overlooked as a recruit out of Blythewood, S.C. He now is committed to Football Bowl Subdivision Buffalo, where he’s continuing his football career.
Another Blue Dragon athlete who saw the advantages from the Covid year was cross country runner Andrew Holt.
Holt is from Lago Vista, Texas. Out of high school, he had a few junior college offers but also had some interest from Division 1 Stephen F. Austin.
He decided to come to Hutchinson. but his freshman year was affected by Covid-19.
“I missed a lot of my freshman year to injuries and Covid,” Holt said. “But my sophomore year, I actually had a really bad reaction to getting Covid and ended up not being able to run for about six months, so I didn’t really get any offers and I didn’t know where else to go, and I’m really thankful for the opportunity to come back.”
But health issues weren’t all that brought him back to Hutchinson.
“My brother is a freshman this year, so I get to go to school with him,” Holt said. “So it all kinda worked out.”
Holt plans to continue his running career at a four-year college and hopes when the indoor track season starts, he will get more offers.