With the indefinite shutdown of all Lehigh athletics last week due to COVID-19 cases on and off-campus, teams are now back to training remotely.
Though the Patriot League had already canceled all fall sports competitions in July, teams had slowly transitioned from voluntary, individual personal training slots to full team practices with COVID-19 regulations, both of which are now on pause.
Sophomore women’s lacrosse attacker Katia Carnevale said the difference between a typical start to her season and the unusual, secluded format of this fall’s training with no contact drills and small group sizes was stark.
“It was a little weird, but we were so excited to be back on the field,” Carnevale said. “We were very aware of our circumstances. Our two main things were that we wanted to stay healthy, and we didn’t want to lose our opportunity right now to be together, although sadly we did, but we’re still hopeful.”
Now, Carnevale and her roommates aim to continue practicing frequently by doing workouts around the house or through body weight training to keep their strength as much as possible.
Freshman men’s cross country runner Griffin Pumilia said his original team training schedule had called for eight hours of practice a week, but now all of his runs have to be by himself, without access to Goodman Campus.
“We would (originally) meet on Tuesdays and Fridays, which would be our workouts, with more high intensity runs with the coach so he could walk us through it,” Pumilia said. “But this week, we couldn’t have done it as we weren’t allowed to meet for practice at all and we didn’t get to see the other guys on the team.”
The inability to access Rauch Fieldhouse encouraged Pumilia to take advantage of trails around Bethlehem, especially the D&L Trail that runs along the Lehigh River. He said that specific path is his favorite place to run due to its flat and lengthy route.
Men’s soccer freshman goalkeeper Jesse Ryan said he and his team were provided with a running schedule after the recent shut down so they could stay fit and try to not lose all they had been working toward. Ryan said the plan consists of two days a week of distance running, two days of sprints, one mixed day and two off days. In addition, it includes at-home workouts for strength conditioning.
“If you take too much time off without touching a soccer ball, you really feel it when you get back, so I’m just getting touches whenever possible and always having a ball at my feet at any chance I get,” Ryan said.
Carnevale, Pumilia and Ryan each said finding motivation is a challenge that has arisen from not having the in-person accountability they were used to, but still can seek encouragement from their teammates.
Pumilia said he knows his teammates are working hard and doesn’t want to be the one to disappoint them or be left behind.
“I think it’s like a mutual respect for each other to get our training done,” Pumilia said.
Seeking encouragement and positivity has also come from activities outside of her sport, Carnevale said, although fitness has typically been something she and her roommates could do together.
“As athletes, we are constantly needing to do things,” Carnevale said. “We also as a house try to do movie nights, paint or maybe cook a new recipe, and we definitely try to keep ourselves occupied with different activities.”
Ryan said thinking negatively is what has contributed to his motivation deteriorating, but he is trying to stay optimistic.
“I just keep telling myself, ‘This isn’t going to last a long time and that we’ll be back into it,’” Ryan said. “But when I am positive and hoping for the best, I just keep training. I think only good can come out of that.”