Last Spring after the coronavirus entered the United States all sports were met with an unexpected halt. Since then, college athletics have looked vastly different than past seasons. What we see now is athletes working out in masks, social distancing being implemented at practice, and small groups of practice pods to try and minimize contact and spread. However, there is a lot being done behind the scenes to allow these unconventional practices. To get a better perspective of how practices are being held at this time, we have interviewed Elizabeth Marsicano, who more commonly goes by “Lovin”. She is a junior forward on the women’s basketball team at Saint Joseph’s University this year. Take a look at her interview to get a deeper understanding of how SJU is making practice possible through the pandemic.

Elizabeth Marsicano in SJU Jersey

How has practice been since COVID? Is it different or is it the same?

“Yes, the practice was very different when we first came back because we were all split up into three pods with four players in each pod. For lift and conditioning, we wore masks the whole time and kept our six feet distance. When we went to practice/individuals we wore a mask and were given our very own ball with our numbers on it so there was no touching or sharing involved. We each had our own coach at the same basket every day to maintain the spreading. I worked with our assistant Coach, Katie Kuster, which was a lot of fun and hard work. After 3 months of pods, we finally hit October 14th, which was the date to have scheduled practices with the whole team. In the first couple of weeks of practice, we had to wear masks but now we are mask-free and can breathe easily. We are only allowed to take off the mask in the Hagan gym for practice but once we enter our locker room, trainers room, lift, or film room we have to mask up to be safe. Now things during practices are more normal but the months it took to get there were so different.”

What kind of testing process do you need to go through? What is it like? 

“Every day our trainer, Jess, sets up a schedule to inform us what time we have to go get tested. Every day I have to get my nose swabbed before practice which only takes 15 minutes to get the results back, so once I am negative I am good to go to get ready for practice.”

Do you feel safe and that the precautions they have in place are helping you maintain staying healthy? 

“Yes, I feel very safe and confident because our team takes things very seriously when dealing with COVID. We know what to do and do it. The staff and school really supply us well with many resources to maintain corona which I and my teammates are so grateful for. Obviously, we want to play as many games as we can so we keep our little bubble-tight and secure to make that happen.”

Once the season starts do you think it’ll be able to stay virus-free or will there be more risks? 

“I think when we start games we will become more strict which will allow us to stay healthy as long as possible. I think if all the schools we play stay healthy and follow the protocols we should be able to stay virus-free.” 

How was it for you when COVID happened last year ending the season early? 

“Unlike the other sports here my team was lucky enough to not end early because we went as far as we could in our division. It did take a lot of our post and preseason away but now that we’re back we are excited for this season to start.

What do you look forward to most this season?

I looked forward to playing games with my teammates and putting all of our hard work to the test! Basketball is nice because it takes my mind off of all the craziness going on in our world right now and for that I’m thankful.

Hopeful Future

Hagan Basketball Arena// Photo by Emily Dunn

Lovin is very excited to see what the future holds for their team and cannot wait to get back out on the court and play games scheduled this upcoming winter. Hopefully, all of their hard work and dedication to staying healthy and safe pays off. If all goes well, they will be allowed to get back to what they love doing most.