Covid-19 at Rocky Mountain College brings the regular fall seasons of football, volleyball, and soccer to a halt while golf and cross country move on in stride.
The Cascade and Frontier conferences decided to postpone the regular season competitions of football, volleyball, and soccer to the spring of 2021. Golf and cross country are still allowed to attend competitions with a somewhat regular season.
Each team has its own set of training guidelines that they must follow to use the RMC workout facilities including the Fortin Education Center and the weight room within the facility. Rocky’s volleyball and basketball teams must be screened before entering the facility and coaches are responsible for designing workouts that adhere to six-foot distance guidelines. Teams are limited in court time as well with a one and a half-hour limit on each practice.
The volleyball and soccer teams were not allowed to bring players back to campus before classes started and regular-season games are on hold until players come back for the spring semester, but both teams have been conditioning and lifting in preparation for the season ahead.
In contrast to other teams who did not come back to practice before classes started, the Battlin’ Bears football team was able to have their fall camp in August and bring student-athletes back before classes started.
With restrictions on the facilities, the weight room has been spread thin between teams. According to head football coach Chris Stutzreim, there can only be 20 athletes in the weight room at a time, as opposed to 33, which was the occupancy limit before the pandemic. These limited numbers mean that the football team alone needs seven different workout times a day to cycle all of the players through the weight room.
The football team is still conducting study halls, meal times, and work for players along with their daily workouts. Stutzreim commented, “there are a lot of things that come into play, but I am very proud of our football team and being adaptable and doing the best they can.”
Cross country has still been training hard and is set to attend meets this fall under new guidelines. The team is not allowed to all run together, but instead, run and do their workouts in separate groups. According to cross country athlete Elijah Boyd, “This highly affects our workouts especially, mainly due to the fact that we can’t have groups of athletes to push each other and encourage each other.”
Boyd says that one of the greatest parts of cross country is being able to compete against your teammates while still being encouraging and building camaraderie among the team. “Now, we are searching for new ways to build on the idea of camaraderie” Boyd added.
Rocky’s cheer team is also practicing, but cheering for teams is on hold until games start again. According to cheerleader Trinity Walter, the team wears masks while practicing unless they are doing high-intensity stunts.
The men’s and women’s Battlin’ Bears golf teams will be competing in Billings on October 4th for the Battlin’ Bears Invite and the men’s and women’s cross country teams will also be home for the Rocky Mountain College Invitational meet on October 9th.
Though Covid-19 made sports look a little different this year, athletes at Rocky Mountain College were still able to come back in one way or another. Stutzreim added, “We would love to be able to go back to normal, but maybe this is the new normal.”