Owens Community College athletics adapt to new normal

NCAA conferences have begun suspending fall sports seasons, but Owens Community College seasons have been halted since mid-May.
Published: Aug. 11, 2020 at 8:03 PM EDT
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PERRYSBURG, Ohio (WTVG) - Owens Community College athletes will not be taking the courts or fields for the remainder of 2020.

On May 14, Owens made the announcement that its men’s and women’s basketball programs, as well as volleyball, would be canceled for the 2020-21 season.

Owen’s sporting affiliate division, the National Junior College Athletic Association, then announced on July 13 a suspension of all in-person meetings and competition until January of 2021.

“My first initial thought was that I felt sorry for our guys. Our guys work their butts off throughout the course of the fall and the winter, for the betterment of the program and for the betterment of the team,” said Owens Head Baseball Coach John Parisho.

Parisho remembers his team’s season ending in the middle of March at the beginning of the pandemic.

He says now with more college conferences canceling their athletics due to COVID-19, it ultimately affects the students most.

“They want to play. That’s why they come here. Obviously to get any education first, but they want to play. They want to come to a great school and compete. Not being able to do that is tough,” said Parisho.

Student-athlete Rebecca Brown, a sophomore volleyball player said knowing the news before conferences like the MAC and the Big Ten announced similar actions has been beneficial.

“It’s been nice because I’m like, okay, this has been the plan since May. I’m not shuffling my whole life around to try and adjust everything. It’s already been adjusted,” said Brown.

Brown explained that many of her friends play sports and attend other colleges, including the University of Toledo, where they received the news of their fall seasons coming to an end just days ago.

“It’s just crazy to me that this is affecting so many more people and watching so many more athletes have to go through what I’m going through. Instead of being in a regular-season having to be in an off-season,” said Brown.

Coaches and players have become creative, thinking of new ways to work together in a non-face-to-face way.

“It’s a lot of zoom meetings. It’s a lot of extra. Getting creative with the workouts, since not all of us are going to the gyms yet, even though they are open,. So it’s been pretty fun,” said Brown.

Brown and the volleyball team have attended zoom yoga classes and keep in contact through online workouts.

Brown also detailed how her father has helped craft together makeshift work out areas for both herself and her sister to stay in shape in the middle of a pandemic.

The new normal for the baseball team includes taking advantage of outside workouts from collegiate leagues, as well as creating workouts through apps.

“If we can’t participate and be outdoors and practice all fall long. You know we’re going to find a way somehow,” said Parisho.

The NJCAA Board of Regents voted to shift volleyball, as well as most of its other fall sports, to the spring semester.

Both Owens volleyball and baseball teams are shifting their focus to 2021.

“It’s unexpected. We all know how to keep going on the grind and in the end, we’re going to have a good outcome, so just keep grinding. We’re going to have a season in the end”, said Brown.

Owens Community College hopes their actions with athletics will help other universities plan for a fall without sports.

Copyright 2020 WTVG. All rights reserved.

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