GNAC postpones all fall sports, several Simmons teams affected

"Thinking that I potentially have played my last field hockey game without knowing it, breaks my heart. I want to be able to step out onto Daly Field one more time with my teammates who are more like sisters"

Graphic+by+Sarah+Carlon

Graphic by Sarah Carlon

Sofia Gulick, Staff Writer

On July 20, the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) announced that effective immediately, the conference will postpone all athletic competitions for the upcoming fall semester.  The fall sports that have been impacted include crew, cross country, field hockey, soccer, swimming and diving, tennis, and volleyball. 

Megan Purser, a middle blocker/right side on the volleyball team, said that despite her disappointment at the loss of her season, she thinks Simmons did the right thing. 

I know it couldn’t have been an easy decision,” Purser said.  

Fellow senior Emma Trahant, a member of the soccer team, agreed.

I can’t really put into words all of the emotions that I am feeling about missing out on my senior season. Although I am very sad, I still have hope that we may be able to play in the spring,” she said. 

Although for many there is no fall sports season, Sharks are looking forward to the promise of the spring season. Junior tennis player Lauren Koval hopes to keep up with her exercise to prepare for the next season, but recognizes that things could change quickly due to COVID-19. 

I have really high hopes that we will be able to figure out a safe way to have a spring season. There is a lot of time for change and advancements between now and then. Hopefully either the virus will be under control or we can figure out a way to play tennis while following what the CDC suggests,” Koval said.

Training continues for Sharks as well despite the cancelled season. For senior swimming and diving captain, Anna Leedham, the months leading into fall are critical to the start of the season.  The swimming and diving season is long, but with the cancellation, training time has been cut to only one or two months. Leedham expects that the team will have to adapt to the new normal and try to shift their training routines to match the circumstances.  

“Hearing this news was not so much as a shock as it was sad. That being said, I’ve also quickly learned in these past few months that we need to embrace change in all aspects of life,” Leedham said. 

Returning student-athletes are slowly embracing that their season is cancelled for the fall, but circumstances are different for incoming freshmen. Freshman Aria Badra committed to the Simmons field hockey team early last fall, and has been eager to step out onto the field with her fellow teammates.  

“I am hoping that we will be able to get on campus [for the fall] and that I will get to bond with the team and learn to play with everyone before fall 2021,” she said. According to Badra, not being able to experience her first semester of college with her team has been challenging.  

“It definitely has made an already stressful thing even more stressful. I was already scared about going into the fall season, and now that everything is getting pushed back, I don’t know what to expect. It is definitely harder to stay calm about it all. It is also upsetting to not get to experience preseason and bond with the team considering how much everyone hypes it up and how much I was looking forward to it,” she said.  

Senior field hockey captain, Lucy McNamara, echoed this disappointment.

“As a senior, I want to have at least one more practice and one more game with my teammates, whether that be tomorrow, or 6 months from now. Thinking that I potentially have played my last field hockey game without knowing it, breaks my heart. I want to be able to step out onto Daly Field one more time with my teammates who are more like sisters,” she told the Voice.

  She understands how many of the new team members must be feeling right now, and advised that freshmen should try to stay connected and communicate as much as possible with the team. 

“Zoom, texting and fun challenges have been a great tool that many Simmons teams have been using. I think that staying connected will make it an easier transition once the spring semester begins and we hopefully can start up athletics again,” McNamara said.  

Ledham echoed this. 

My advice to the incoming first-years is to take a deep breath. It is okay to feel whatever you are feeling. There are so many unknowns ahead, but every day aims you to be a better person and athlete than you were the day before. Being a division three athlete means you’re simply competing for the love of the sport, so until you can meet again, do exactly that, love the sport and remember why you fell in love with the sport in the first place,” she said. 

The GNAC has yet to comment on the status of winter sports. However, at the end of their statement, they said, “All options will be thoroughly evaluated to make a decision as quickly as possible, informed by federal and state health and safety guidelines.”