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Playing through COVID

 

The COVID-19 virus caused a halt to Castleton University around this time last year. It took the United States by storm and has drastically affected students.

It also canceled all sports and has made the return to sports this year a very slippery slope for the teams at Castleton.

But Castleton officials have done everything they can to affectively tackle COVID-19 head on. Winter sports teams have been getting tested three times a week to be able to play.

Cases have still popped up on almost every team, however. Men’s and women’s basketball, women’s ice hockey and most recently women’s lacrosse have all had at least one positive case since athletes have returned from winter break.

The men’s basketball season was canceled because of repeated cases.

With women’s lacrosse just getting back into the swing of things and practices starting back up, the positive COVID case put a damper on things.

“I think the team had a good reaction to the positive COVID case. We took the day off to develop a plan for our next practices. Our captains and coach did their best to keep us practicing while social distancing at the same time,” said junior Katherine Opiela.

One team that has so far steered clear of COVID-19 since the return to play has been men’s hockey.

“It is tough each day going to the rink not knowing what our next move is going to be,” said freshman defensemen Justin Stairs. “Guys work so hard during the week and are excited to get a chance to play with the pandemic season, then get let down when games get canceled. It takes a toll on them mentally.”

The men’s hockey team had only been allowed to play two games against Babson College as of last week, because other scheduled teams have had COVID cases.

“It is frustrating getting games canceled because the guys have been sacrificing and doing the right thing,” Stairs said.

But some teams haven’t been as fortunate as the hockey team. Men’s soccer had its fall season canceled.

“For all of us on the team, the season is something we all look forward to, and we were incredibly upset when our game schedule was cancelled,” said sophomore central midfielder Jake Henderson.

Though the soccer team was unable to play in the fall, the team looks to resume its LEC conference schedule as early as mid-March, Henderson said.

Castleton women’s hockey got hit with the virus early after the return to campus.

“Most of the girls haven’t played a game in almost a year and everyone was frustrated and took it hard, but it also was a reminder that COVID-19 is a real threat and every day we get to skate is a blessing,” said freshman defensemen Nancy Benedict.

The team has since resumed play and just got a huge 4-3 overtime win against Norwich and now sits with a 3-1-1 record.