Spring sports will be able to play, according to the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. However, COVID-19 numbers and health expert guidelines will play a role in whether student-athletes when student-athletes will get to play.
The St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC) announced the Council of President’s approval of the spring sports and championship schedule. The council met on Thursday, Nov. 9 to discuss the proposed sports schedule and championships for the spring.
Due to the on-going coronavirus pandemic, 2020 spring sports ended in cancellations while 2020 fall sports were postponed and pushed to spring of 2021. Cody Surma, a sophomore on Webster’s golf team, said these two seasons without any competition have been strange but he is hopeful looking toward the upcoming spring semester.
“Without a season this fall, it has allowed our team and myself to prepare a little more for what is coming,” Surma said. “All this time off could be a good thing for our team to readjust and prepare for our packed schedule.”
According to Surma, he and his team are hopeful they will have a spring season and realize it will be difficult to be prepared for it. He said the team’s members have been practicing individually since October. This has been easy for the team, according to Surma, since golf is an individualized sport.
Surma said the team has goals of making it to the national championship and performing well in each tournament they play. According to the Golf Coaches Association of America, Webster ranks 22nd nationally. SLIAC will be hosting the men’s golf championship on April 26 and 27.
“Our group is motivated and driven to perform at the highest national level,” Surma said. “Now, with how we sit in the national rankings, we know we have to be ready when spring rolls around.”
Webster’s baseball team is also optimizing the opportunity for a season in the spring after having their season cut short in the spring of 2020. The Gorloks only played 16 of 27 games on the regular-season schedule. Webster ended last season ranked 20th in the nation according to d3baseball.com.
Heading into 2020, the Gorloks were ranked No. 2 nationally. According to former catcher and current assistant coach, Joe Swanson, the team is hoping for the best possible outcome of next semester.
“We are optimistic going forward about a potential spring season,” Swanson said. “Our guys are ready to compete and have been working hard both on and off the field in preparation for whatever the spring season may look like.”
SLIAC plans on hosting the conference tournament for baseball from May 13 through May 15. The first game for the Gorloks will be against Westminster on March 12 against, hosted by Webster.
SLIAC wants to prioritize the health and safety of student-athletes participating in all sports this spring. Scott Kilgallon, director of athletics at Webster, is thankful for the possibility of a spring sports season but urges students to continue safe practices.
“While the current situation offers no guarantees, I appreciate everyone in the SLIAC working closely together and with our institutions in planning the safest way possible to provide potential seasons for our student-athletes,” Kilgallon said. “Given the fluidity of this pandemic, I appreciate all the efforts of Webster University and Athletics staff engaging our teams with controlled practices and the efforts to come to work toward potential seasons with safety paramount in our planning and decision making.”
Even though the schedules for the spring have been approved, the possibility of student-athletes getting a chance to compete will be in complete correlation with the status of COVID-19 spread and access to testing, according to SLIAC. Guidance from local and national health officials will also play a role in the chance for competition.
Go to https://websterathletics.com/ to view the full spring sports schedule.
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Kaelin Triggs (he/him) is the sports editor for the Journal. He is a journalism major pursuing a career in sports writing. He also runs for Webster's track and cross country team, and he enjoys playing piano and hanging out with friends and family.