Gauls prepare for start of athletic season at home amidst lockdown

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Webb athletes work out individually to prepare for their upcoming seasons. Graphic courtesy: Matthew Gaw (’21)

While the COVID-19 pandemic has drastically impacted students’ schedules, it has taken an especially large toll on high school athletes around the country, many of whom are experiencing the longest time away from their beloved sports they have grown up playing. Despite many setbacks, Webb athletes are not letting the delayed sports season sway their commitment to the game, as many have turned to intense workout routines and individual conditioning drills to ensure they are ready when high school sports resume.  

For Marie Blake (‘22), VWS varsity basketball captain, it was the first summer in a while that she could not train and compete with her travel basketball team. Marie has been preparing for the upcoming season at home, going through rigorous workouts sent by her travel ball team, and even attending online practice clinics for dribbling and shooting drills. While she predicts her school team might have  slight changes on the roster due to conflicting sports, she has high hopes on the upcoming season.  

“Honestly, I’m just grateful with the people we have right now, and I hope we continue our streak of League championships and qualification to CIF, despite being in a new league this season,” said Marie.  

Kalman Dong (‘22), captain of the WSC varsity basketball team has taken the opportunity to work on his shooting form, vertical jump, as well as building up his physique individuallyWhile his original plans for numerous basketball camps have been cancelled, he was able to do a five-day online program with intensive basketball training to stay in shape. Kalman looks forward to stepping into an increased role this season as a second-year captain, following the graduation of playmaker London Tyck (‘20). 

“I hope to find our identity as a team and set goals to push ourselves to our limits,” said Kalman when asked about his goals for the season.  

Although spring season is farther away than winter season, some members of the baseball team are using their free time to prepare for their season and get stronger. In addition to their afternoon activities, some players have been hitting the field and getting extra work in.  

“I’ve gotten into weightlifting and it has showed in different aspects of the game in terms of speed and power,” said Daniel Serna (‘23). “Before COVID-19, I’d say my training was more casual and laid back, kind of just going through the motions. Once COVID-19 was underwayI really started to take my training to the next level and realized this was a big opportunity to separate myself from players across the country and my team.” 

On the softball team, some athletes have been improving their health as well. While practice has been made difficult due to closure of fieldspersonal workout options are still readily accessible, with many turning to YouTube, running, and ab workouts to stay healthy. 

I have been biking and swimming a lot recently, as well as tumbling and doing some gymnastics workouts which train my upper abs mostly,” said Marina Saeger (‘23). “COVID-19 has definitely changed the way I work outthough.”  

Over the summer, the football team adjusted its workout schedule to better fit the delayed season, effectively moving everything later by four months.   

“From August to mid-October we’ll focus mostly on lifting and then in October we’ll start getting into some conditioning, said Amahl Thomashead coach of the football team. Due to Webb’s decision to cancel all summer practices in order to comply with the coronavirus rules and regulations, the players have been working out at home, following a specific regimen designed around the equipment available to them 

While team captain Jake Baiz (‘21) was disappointed not to have summer practice, where the team usually gets together and builds bonds, coach Thomas had a different perspective about the season.  

“I’m cautiously optimistic.” says coach Thomas“I’m in full football mode right now. I’ve scouted our first few games, I think we’ve got good game plans for those, and I think we match up well, so I’m excited about the season.”  

“This season has a lot of high stakes and we’re really looking forward to it. It’s definitely going to be different, but just given that small chance really kept us motivated and myself for sure, said Jake. 

In quarantine, it is difficult to find motivation to stay active. However, with volleyball season approaching soon, these varsity athletes are trying to stay in shape for their sport. 

“I work out every single day and I try to run as well,” said Alex Xiao (‘21), co-captain of the WSC varsity volleyball team. Initially, I didn’t really find any motivation to do anything, but as quarantine went on, I realized it was necessary to stay active for volleyball season.”   

Savanna Cespedes (‘22), captain of the VWS varsity volleyball team, also shared her workout routine in detail. 

“During the week I tend to do lifting workouts 2-3 times a week, and on off days I do cardioso that is running 3-6 miles a day and other days I’ll just do sprints,” said Savanna. “I would also do my own drills and setting practice. I would try and get together with friends, with safe conditions of course, and play beach volleyball or just do simple practice drills in a backyard.” 

Although athletes are trying their best to stay in shape for their season, it is a difficult thing to do by themselves. Getting used to having their teams’ encouragement and support, Alex and Savanna are both working on staying motivated the best that they can. 

As for Webb’s highly decorated soccer program, the Webb Canyon Chronicle got the pleasure of getting an inside look at two Webb athletes and how they’ve stayed in shape over quarantine. VWS forward Taren Duffy (22), who plays soccer at varsity and club level, shares that she has started to work out individually, engaging in home workouts such as treadmill running, participating in workout videos, as well as other activities 

Similarly, WSC Varsity defender Maksym Graham (23), who also plays club soccer, mentions that he has been trying to use the extra free time to work out.  

Because I play soccer, I try to consistently do exercises with a lot of cardio and train with specific soccer focused drills, Maksym said.  

Many club sports, including Taren and Maksym’s clubs, are now slowly picking back up again with extra precautionary measures. 

My coach has taken precautions such as making sure we are all six feet apart when creating drills,” says Maksym.  

Although we are unable to play gamesour club takes our temperature before going into the complex and all our coaches wear masks at practice, said Taren. 

Even though this system of playing sports is different from what everyone is used to, there is little doubt that it is better than practicing alone. Taren and Maksym both agreed that they are more than ready to get back to playing on the Webb soccer fields. 

Webb athletes recognize that just because they cannot work out in person does not mean they cannot exercise at home. Prying yourself away from your screen and finding ways to stay active is crucial and will keep you healthy. Having all your teammates train for a sport foreven just a couple minutes a day, can have a huge benefit; it will ensure that the team is the strongest it can possibly be by the time the season arrives.