By Collin Frazier
With the semester slowly starting up, non-contact sports are getting ready for this unique season ahead of them. When initially hearing about the postponement of contact sports, Douglas Linden, the head coach for both the men’s and women’s tennis programs at the University of Findlay, could only feel sympathy for all the coaches and athletes that will not be able to play until the spring.
“Initially hearing that contact sports were being postponed, I felt for the coaches that put in endless hours to prepare for a season only to be asked to adapt and prepare for a future competition date,” said Linden. “This year all coaches and administrators are doing additional preparation to keep all student-athletes and the campus safe. Knowing that non-contact sports could follow a similar situation we, the coaches and athletes, are being diligent in masking, distancing, and sending the message of the importance of [the] ‘Start Safe & Stay Safe’ protocol.”
In order to keep coaches, athletes, and supporters safe, Linden explained how the changes affect his program.
“This season matches will look different than they have in the past,” Linden explained. “The most visible will be tapping racquets instead of high-fives between points or shaking hands at the end of a match. Not so obvious might be the extra attention to filling water bottles, the precautions like masking when traveling to a match, or the spacing of seating at all sporting events.”
While some athletes will be returning for one more season in sports, the same cannot be said for Oiler Tennis, as graduate Bei Li Martin will be attending Veterinary School at St. George’s University this January, and graduate Tomas Kmetko had received his MBA and is now working in Houston, Texas.
However, Oiler Tennis has plenty of new faces to carry the team onto victory. Some of these athletes include Reagan Resor from Columbus and Emily Hadler from Medina on the women’s team. For the men’s team, some new players include sophomore transfer Octavio Carrasco from Barton College and Florian Bauer, a graduate student from Munich, Germany. Linden expects these players, along with the rest of the team, to fully display their leadership during this different season.
“As Brandi Laurita, our head athletic director, has told both teams, the student-athletes that are going through this challenging time will be better equipped to meet the challenges they face after graduation,” Linden commented. “For us, as a team we need to step up daily to whatever challenges are facing us and if we can do that, we will be a stronger team and one that is much better prepared for the season ahead of us.”
Linden says while the team is glad to be back on the court, conference play is their main interest.
“We are looking forward to competing which we haven’t done in almost six months,” Linden said. “Our fall season is what we are looking forward to now but our spring season with conference matches is what we are ultimately preparing for. We had a great lead up to the conference season last spring with some great wins, team and individual performances before everything had to be stopped.”
Linden says they are not taking anything for granted this year.
“We as tennis players feel fortunate to be able to compete this fall due to the nature of our sport being non-contact,” Linden proclaimed. “We are excited and look forward to attending all the other sports as they are able to compete because sports is one of the major things that makes the college atmosphere so exciting.”