Photo courtesy of Martha Miklyukh
Due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases in Illinois, winter sports are currently at a pause. York athletes are struggling to find ways to practice their sport at home.
Even lower risk sports, like girls gymnastics, have been halted. Gymnasts might not get their season this year, but many continue preparing. Gymnastics competitors, juniors Martha Miklyukh and Maryalice Shockey, have found new ways to practice outside of the high school gym.
“It’s definitely been hard to stay motivated because we could potentially not have a season,” Miklyukh said. “But, I like to stay positive and it helps knowing if we do have a season I’ll be physically fit.”
The girls’ head coach, Nick Criel, gives the athletes workouts to complete at home. The assigned exercises are a mix of different types of fitness.
“I’ve been working out at home and running outside occasionally, along with stretching daily,” Shockey said.
The athletes have already shown so much resilience during this winter season, having faced so much discouragement and uncertainty. They rely on each other to lift their spirits and motivate one another to keep training.
“They have become like a family,” assistant coach Meredith Eisen said. “The girls are very supportive and are always pushing themselves to become the best they can be.”
Considering this season’s special circumstances, it can be difficult to keep spirits high in the midst of this COVID-19 pandemic.
“With the season being so uncertain, it definitely made it hard for me to have goals and get all my skills,” Miklyukh said. “Normally in the months leading up to season everyone is in the gym and working really hard to be ready, but this year that hasn’t happened.”
The athletes cannot train alone or with coaches at the gym, and as a result, many athletes feel they aren’t fully prepared for a season.
“I feel like I would be ready to compete but not to my fullest potential,” Miklyukh said. “By that, I mean I could do a routine, but I wouldn’t have developed my skills enough, because I’m unable to practice them in the gym.”
Many feel worried about this season’s uncertainty, while others just want to compete. Some athletes feel they’ve trained well for this season.
“If the season were to start up, I would definitely feel ready to compete. I have been training for the majority of the summer and plan to participate in club meets later this year,” Shockey said.
Despite all the setbacks, the girls continue to stay hopeful. The team wants what any athlete gets in a normal year: a chance to compete in their sport. So, they will prepare the best they can, even under these unpredictable circumstances.
“With a little practice I’m sure the team would be ready to compete considering we want nothing more than a competition season!” Miklyukh said.