Staying in tip-top volleyball shape

Travis Nelson

Being in top shape is important for any athlete to find success, especially in the college ranks at NMU. With fall sports being canceled for the year, there are all kinds of factors that could hold athletes back from continuing to train at that high level. But for junior right-side hitter Hailey Wickstrom and the rest of the volleyball team, they’re just sticking to the original plan.

“Normally over the summer we get workouts sent to us from our strength coach, and over the summer, I’ve just been doing that and was preparing as if we’d have a season,” Wickstrom said. “Then with the news of things being canceled, I know that hopefully soon we’re going to be able to start training again in the weight room and have some sort of practice.”

The Wildcats don’t know yet what those practices will look like, but some ideas have been thrown around such limits of players that can be in the locker room, wearing masks on the court and having designated areas to take water breaks to help with the spread of COVID-19, Wickstrom said. Even with the start date unknown, it’s important for the team to be conditioned for when the time comes.

“I’m definitely still trying to stay in shape and do some ‘at home’ workouts, and also my teammates have been going to the PEIF too because eventually, we will be doing stuff, so I can’t just sit around and do nothing,” Wickstrom said.

From every athlete and coach who has talked about the cancellation of fall sports, each one has been stunned in some way, regardless of how easy this was to see coming. This feeling hit a bit earlier for the volleyball team in the summer.

“It was hard, especially initially when we had a team meeting in the beginning of July, and our coach said that he was fairly positive that our season was going to be canceled,” Wickstrom said. “That took me by surprise initially, I guess I was very optimistic since we were going to classes in person, that means our season wouldn’t be affected. At the same time, I guess I’m kind of glad that he gave us a heads up earlier in the summer because it gave me time to process it.”

Despite the meeting, the team still prepared as if the season was happening because there wasn’t an official announcement, and the meeting didn’t make the announcement on Aug. 12 any easier to hear, Wickstrom said. She added that she hopes that they have a season in the spring of 2021, but just like most things in the collegiate athletics world right now, nothing is set in stone.

“We’re excited to get in the gym,” Wickstrom said. “It’s been so long since we’ve gotten to practice, since the middle of March, and we’re pretty antsy.”

In a world where sports are limited at the moment, it’s safe to say everyone’s antsy for that first game.