Pandemic plans: College sports with the Class of 2020

2020+Los+Altos+High+School+alumni+show+us+what+they%27ve+been+up+to+over+the+past+few+months%2C+from+studying+and+playing+on-campus+%28top+middle%29+to+taking+a+gap+year+and+working+with+technology+from+home+%28top+right%29.+Recruited+athletes+from+the+class+of+2020+have+decided+to+head+down+a+number+of+different+paths+during+their+first+year+post-graduation.+

Courtesy Evelyn Baher-Murphy, Annabel Flint, Lindsay Halden, Caris Kim, Portia Pliam and Adam Sage

2020 Los Altos High School alumni show us what they’ve been up to over the past few months, from studying and playing on-campus (top middle) to taking a gap year and working with technology from home (top right). Recruited athletes from the class of 2020 have decided to head down a number of different paths during their first year post-graduation.

From practicing on college campuses to taking gap years in Montana and Germany, recruited athletes from the class of 2020 have taken a wide variety of paths in their first post-graduate year. Amid a global pandemic, college sports look a little different, but these athletes are persevering and making the best of an unexpected situation. Keep reading to catch up with all that they’ve been doing since June.

Disclaimer: Responses have been edited for clarity and length.

Rose Liu and Emily Zhu

Natalia Roman (Soccer, Mills College, virtual learning at home)

How has playing your sport changed amidst the pandemic, and what drills/exercises have you been doing?

My school team has been doing workouts and drills via Zoom, but I have mostly been focusing on my recovery. I have been doing team workouts, physical therapy workouts and sport specific training on my own.

Outside of your sport, how have you passed time during the pandemic?

Knitting, crocheting and painting as well as going for walks and bike rides.

Who do you look up to in your sport and why?

I look up to Megan Rapinoe because she uses her platform to address pay inequalities and fights for LGBTQ+ rights.

Rose Liu and Emily Zhu

Evelyn Baher-Murphy (Basketball, Colorado College, gap year in Montana)

How has playing your sport changed amidst the pandemic, and what drills/exercises have you been doing?

I have been shooting around when I get the chance, running when it’s not too cold and doing strength workouts.

Any new accomplishments from the pandemic?

I learned how to be a dog handler for sled dogs in Montana and am planning on handling dogs in races later this year.

What is currently the main goal you’re working toward in your sport?

Maintaining my skills in my year off.

 

Caris Kim (Golf, Princeton University, virtual learning off-campus)

Why did you make the decision to do virtual learning off-campus?

I figured that because Princeton went completely online, the best outcome of the situation would be to find a study pod to room with for the semester, allowing me to form a community while also focusing on school.

What is currently the main goal you’re working toward in your sport?

I am working on my mental game by setting little goals each week of what I want to accomplish.

Outside of your sport, how have you passed time during the pandemic?

I got to paint my room, run a lot more and give more time to myself!

Rose Liu and Emily Zhu

Kayleen Gowers (Soccer, Princeton University, gap year in Germany)

Why did you make the decision to take a gap year abroad?

During my sophomore year of high school, I decided to take a gap year in Germany to immerse myself into my German culture and language, and expand on my soccer experiences by playing with a 1st division pro soccer club.

What is your number on your college team and why did you choose it?

I will continue to be #14 at Princeton, which is a tribute to Johan Cruyff and his contributions to the game of soccer.

Who do you look up to in your sport and why?

I look up to Kevin De Bruyne, a player at Manchester City, whose vision, creativity, and technical abilities in the midfield reflect my style of play and skill sets.

 

Nicole Player (Track and field, Pomona College, virtual learning at home)

How has playing your sport changed amidst the pandemic, and what drills/exercises have you been doing?

Since it’s more difficult to practice jumps and hurdles on my own, I’ve been alternating between reps at the rack, long runs and lifting. During the spring, I’ll increase my sprinting reps and focus on my usual events, whether I am on campus or not.

What is currently the main goal you’re working toward in your sport?

I’m working towards getting faster and stronger.

What advice would you give to younger athletes aspiring to play in college?

Visit the schools you are interested in before committing to make sure you like the coach and the team dynamic!

Rose Liu and Emily Zhu

Lindsay Halden (Field Hockey, Lindenwood University, on-campus)

Since you’re on-campus, have any games or competitions started? If so, how have they been?

No official games have started but some teams scrimmage within their team getting ready for their season later, and spectators are spaced out in the stands to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

What is your number on your college team and why did you choose it?

I am #18. One of my closest friends I played with at Los Altos was #18, so it reminds me of someone who loves the number and has passion for the sport.

Who do you look up to in your sport and why?

All my coaches from high school have so much passion and love for the sport, as well as dedication to teach girls of varying ages. I am deeply appreciative towards them for their time, effort and love.

 

Amir Issa (Soccer, New York University, virtual learning at home)

Why did you make the decision to do virtual learning at home?

I was on campus but the season was cancelled because of COVID-19, so I decided to move back home for safety purposes.

What is currently the main goal you’re working toward in your sport?

I plan on improving my ability on the field while enjoying my last four years of competitive soccer.

Outside of your sport, how have you passed time during the pandemic?

I have been doing personal training and just enjoying time with my family while I am home.

Rose Liu and Emily Zhu

Portia Pliam (Squash, George Washington University, gap year in Minnesota)

How has playing your sport changed amidst the pandemic, and what drills/exercises have you been doing?

For a while, I was restricted to playing by myself, but now I am able to play with a group of trusted players. We can only play each other and no one else.

Outside of your sport, how have you passed time during the pandemic?

My two internships involve coding, social media managing and guest speaking, and I work in a ticket office at a ski hill.

Who do you look up to in your sport and why?

I look up to my coach because he is a great player and coach, as well as incredibly smart, funny and kind. He invests in his students’ progress and potential and works really hard to help make their dreams a reality.

 

Adam Sage (Cross country, Harvey Mudd College, gap year at home)

Why did you make the decision to take a gap year at home?

I wanted to try to get as much in-person time and as many years running on the team as possible.

What is currently the main goal you’re working toward in your sport?

I am trying to build up a heavier base mileage to maintain fitness and trying to get back into racing shape for the spring so I can pace some of the LAHS runners if they have a track season.

Outside of your sport, how have you passed time during the pandemic?

I have been working on a website with some friends that helps people diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis find the right treatment options for their lifestyle and needs.

Rose Liu and Emily Zhu

Annabel Flint (Basketball, Haverford College, on-campus)

How has playing your sport changed amidst the pandemic, and what drills/exercises have you been doing? 

We are not allowed to scrimmage against each other, but my coach has been super creative with coming up with drills to work on spacing.

If you’re on-campus, have any games or competitions started? If so, how have they been?

No, Haverford decided that there would be no games for the whole fall semester.

What has been your favorite college highlight so far?

100 percent meeting new people and getting to know my teammates. I’ve gotten the chance to really bond with the other first years on the team, and I can’t wait until we get to play games.

 

Anna Zaeske (Track and Field, Johns Hopkins University, virtual learning at home)

How has playing your sport changed amidst the pandemic, and what drills/exercises have you been doing?

It’s a little easier to train for track during the pandemic than it is for other athletes, but it’s still difficult not to be able to connect with my teammates. I receive weekly workout plans from my coach that I complete and return to them with my performance and feedback.

What is currently the main goal you’re working toward in your sport?

My higher goals are still breaking the LAHS 400-meter and 200-meter records, dropping my 400-meter personal record and setting JHU records for the 400-meter or 200-meter, but right now I’m choosing to focus on smaller, but still essential, goals like remaining motivated and not losing any progress.

What advice would you give to younger athletes aspiring to play in college?

Don’t be afraid to reach out to coaches; they will appreciate initiative. Also, really think about what exactly you want out of your experience and what your priorities are.