Girls basketball bounces back

After a lack of practice for over six months, the team makes its return to play.

Elizabeth Creed, Staff Reporter

JV head coach Svetlana Pankratova takes the temperature of sophomore Elisa Goislard Nguyen as a part of the new safety protocol all Mason sports are required to follow. (Photo by Elizabeth Creed)

“Have you experienced symptoms of muscle aches, shortness of breath, loss of taste, loss of smell, fever, or chills in the past 14 days?” While this may seem like an unusual question, it has become the norm for girls’ basketball players. 

The girls basketball program is one of the few sports teams that have begun their preseason workouts. They meet every Tuesday and Thursday from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m., splitting their time between the turf field and the gym. 

While the team is excited to be back together, a lot of things have changed since the last time they practiced.

“Last year, off the bat we started doing basketball drills, but this year we aren’t even allowed to touch a basketball yet because of social distancing and Corona[virus],” freshman Maureen Tremblay said. 

In accordance with new social distancing guidelines, Mason sports are restricted from using any equipment until September 21. Despite this, varsity head coach Chris Carrico decided to get a jumpstart on the season and hold optional workouts.

“If you’re in better condition before the basketball stuff starts, we don’t have to worry about getting in shape. The earlier we start, the better it is for us,” Carrico said. 

Girls' basketball players run sprints up and down the turf field
Players run sprints during their workout to help keep their fitness levels up. Junior Sydney Longer said, “The workouts help us a lot with endurance and strength, but they also help us learn to push ourselves when we get tired.” (Photo courtesy of Svetlana Pankratova)

Though it can be frustrating to have so many restrictions placed on the workouts, many players are reaping the benefits of the extra physical activity.

“I think the workouts are doing well getting us into shape. However, I can’t wait for us to start using equipment and practicing like a team,” junior Rianna Arsenault said. 

The workouts also provide a space for athletes to interact with each other after such a long separation during quarantine. 

“I like seeing everybody because we haven’t been together in a while and I like how we encourage each other,” sophomore Peyton Jones said. 

Unfortunately, these workouts and the season as a whole are heavily dependent on the levels of COVID-19 spread in Virginia.

Although the future of the girls’ basketball season remains uncertain, the players are staying positive through it all. 

“I really want a season this year, even if it’s a short one,” Arsenault said. “The basketball team is like a second family to me, and I miss them.”