GV sports regroup as COVID-19 affects scheduling


GVL Archives

Brian Bloom, Staff Writer

The Grand Valley State University winter sports schedule was ready to kick off smoothly after winter break, until COVID-19 started causing familiar issues for several teams.

Due to an outbreak at Northwood University, the GVSU men’s and women’s basketball game scheduled for Jan. 6 was postponed and has yet to be rescheduled. Another outbreak at Davenport University forced the club men’s hockey team’s back-to-back slate on Jan. 7-8 to be postponed, as well as GVSU’s swimming and diving meet scheduled for Jan. 8. 

So far, the club hockey teams has been able to replace their missed games with a game against Michigan State University on Jan. 8 in Lansing, Michigan, but aside from the rescheduling, it’s still a nerve-wracking start to the winter semester.  

For the swimming and diving teams, the postponement is disappointing, but not a total loss for their season as they try to remain optimistic. 

“(The postponement) had to happen,” said coach Andy Boyce. “We’re doing everything we can to get back going, get our athletes healthy and not have any more cases.”

The team improved mightily throughout their fall portion of the season, consistently finishing in the top two for nearly every meet. However, Boyce said that there has been no shift in their momentum.

“(Our team) is strong; we’ll figure it out and get back at it,” Boyce said. “Ultimately, our goal is to win the conference championship.”

Luckily for the swimming and diving teams, the postponement won’t count against them in their overall record for this season. They will instead square off against Davenport University and Saginaw State University in a tri-meet Jan. 22 at East Kentwood High School.

“The tri-meet means that there’s just a little better competition,” Boyce said. “I’m excited to see how the athletes bounce back from being out of the water for so long.”

On top of the disappointment that comes with the cancellation of games and meets, the swim and dive seniors missed out on their senior night as well. 

“It’s very disappointing because it was the senior night meet,” said senior swimmer Jesse Goodyear. “All of us were going to be recognized and having it postponed takes away the vibe. We were all really prepared, and it just got taken away from us.”

In terms of moving forward, the teams’ focus turns to their next meet, as Hope College becomes their new first opponent of the second half of the season.

“Our preparation hasn’t changed all that much,” Goodyear said. “The real change is that we have some athletes that will be out of the pool for ten days, and that will be difficult. We’ll still prepare hard, and we won’t reduce our hours of training or the number of yards we swim.”

Aside from having athletes out of the pool for several weeks, the possibility of a COVID-19 outbreak at GVSU puts the teams at an even greater risk to have multiple players out for quarantine during meets. 

“Losing what we gained from the end of the season will be challenging, but we don’t have any fears about the end of the season,” said senior swimmer Charlotte Brereton. “I’m excited to see how the team performs the next couple of weeks.”

With only four meets left in their season before the GLIAC Championship meet, their main focus is on the GLIAC Championship and Nationals. 

“(The postponement) will not change how we swim, but we need to have a positive attitude about the situation,” Brereton said. “We’re dealing with adversity, and we still need to perform to the best of our abilities.”

The team will return to action against Hope College in Hudsonville on Friday, Jan. 14. As for the rest of the GVSU teams either currently experiencing setbacks from COVID-19 or about to start up their seasons, safety protocols are actively in pace to help keep these outbreaks to a minimum.