Since March 2020, life at CSULB came to an abrupt halt due to a mandatory quarantine that occurred because of COVID-19.
For student-athletes, this meant that their season would be delayed beyond uncertainty and eventually, canceled.
“I think a lot of us agree it was one of the hardest years ever,” CSULB women’s soccer player Kayla Cannon, said. “We had to stay motivated. While being on Zoom.”
With the campus being closed and sports put on pause, one of the constant struggles for student-athletes during the pandemic was finding ways to stay fit and ready for their upcoming season.
There are many ways you can stay active like walking, biking, or working out from home. However, student-athletes require more intense training than the average person to keep up with the physical demands needed of them during matches.
Due to the limitations imposed by COVID-19, student-athletes were unable to access the weight room at any time like they normally would.
During the pandemic, athletes were given a set schedule of when they were allowed to enter the gym. But with so many players across more than a dozen sports teams, capacity became an issue when social distancing guidelines required half the machines to be closed off from being used.
In addition, players were also unable to attend local gyms in the city because of mandated closures.
But Cannon, alongside her teammates, took matters into their own hands, creating a personal workout program that would keep them ready for when the start of the season came back around.
Cannon and her team would stay in shape throughout the year, just as if the season was still going on, meeting up in a group of five to do private training sessions
While training for the season, Cannon also bought herself a punching bag and some dumbbells. She also downloaded the Nike Run Club app, which would help motivate her throughout the pandemic.
“It was nice being able to have that contact with them,” Cannon said. It was nice and safe because we knew what each other were doing because it was that same cohort.”
CSULB women’s soccer head coach Mauricio Ingrassia said that one of his biggest worries going into the season this year was his player’s mental health.
“I just tried to do the unexpected, to do new things,” Ingrassia said. “It was really hard, because, I was really worried about their mental state.”
One of the ways Ingrassia kept his players motivated was with the 81-0 mentality every week.
The team has 27 players and every week the team was required to take three COVID tests. The goal was to test negative every test and this would result in the team going up 81-0 at the end of the week.
Cannon mentioned that the team never once tested positive and they achieved their goal every week.
Coach Ingrassia added that his players did benefit from the year off because they had the extra time to train and make themselves even better heading into the 2021 season.
Ingrassia said he’s noticed that Cannon and Junior Forward, Lena Silano have improved their game tremendously and are playing at a much more mature level, with Silano leading the way in a win against No. 4 ranked Pepperdine University last week.
On the baseball diamond, the situation was similar, with the pandemic canceling more than 40 remaining games for the Dirtbags who at the time had won 10 out of 15 games to start the 2020 season.
CSULB right-handed pitcher Jack Noble said that he spent a lot of his time during quarantine at his friend’s house working out.
“I had a friend on the street who had a full home gym in his garage,” Noble said. “So, I was lucky enough to use that during the extent of the lockdown.”
But in order for the 6-foot-5, 190-pound Noble to stay in shape during the lockdown, he also had to watch what he was eating.
“I felt like it could be pretty easy to fall into some unhealthy eating,” Noble said. “I prided myself on tracking what I was eating and making sure I was eating healthy and definitely just to reach my goals health-wise.”
Despite a canceled 2020 season, Noble was still able to display his repertoire over the summer, pitching for the Wareham Gatemen in Massachusetts, where he struck out 18 batters in 12 innings over six appearances.