BenU Athletics Handle Growing COVID-19 Cases

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Anna Fisher – News Writer

At least twelve Benedictine Athletes have tested positive for coronavirus since the start of the semester. But the University is working to prevent and hinder the spread of the virus, while enabling athletes to practice.

Three baseball students tested positive for the virus, quarantining Ondrak residents earlier in the semester. Two students from the women’s basketball team and four students from the men’s basketball teams tested positive, and these athletes were set to leave quarantine this week. Last week, three cases cropped up among the softball team.

 “I knew it would happen eventually,” said softball pitcher Hannah Trumpis, “It was inevitable.”

Trumpis has tested negative four times but is quarantining with her roommates until Oct. 29. If she tests positive, this date would extend farther, “It’s horrible,” Trumpis joked, “I’m going to be here for a while.”

Like all students, athletes follow the same CDC guidelines, along with quarantining for 10 days after a positive test. They can be released after that if their symptoms are resolved and they have been without a fever for 72 hours. Athletes are also required to have a physical and an EKG to check for underlying heart conditions linked to COVID-19, following NCAA guidelines.

The number of students tested and positive cases are on the University’s Surveillance Testing Program Page.

To stay conditioned, Trumpis and her roommates are doing the best they can with materials on hand in their dorm. “We painted pumpkins, and I’ve literally been lifting my pumpkins,” she shared.

However, Trumpis is also grateful for the tests that caught the cases. “Surveillance testing has been beneficial. I have no complaints. It’s been handled really well.”

Basketball guard Mason Sobiesk agreed, “We knew, coming here, that it would be a risk,” he said, though Sobiesk was surprised when he and his three roommates tested positive. “We never really had symptoms aside from congestion.”

Both Trumpis and Sobiesk praised the diligence of the nursing staff, citing daily calls, concern, and medical care.

Sobiesk and his roommates were set to return to conditioning this week to rejoin the basketball team.

Men’s basketball has been in full-team practice since Oct. 15. Team captain Walter Taylor is hopeful about the season, “With the right precautions, I feel like we can make things work,” he said.

Women’s basketball forward Alex Fanning also believes that Benedictine is committed to playing safe, “We’re going to be set up for success now with how the University has handled everything.” Mask wearing and other precautions are heavily enforced, according to all athletes interviewed.

Speculation on how the breakouts occurred vary from contact between couples to poor hygienic decisions. However, Sobiesk, Taylor, and Fanning believe that students have curbed weekend parties to take the pandemic seriously.

Fanning weighed in, “I think that everyone, from what I can tell, already has their group of people that they normally hang out with and they don’t go away from the group, especially in this time,” she said, “It’s not like we’re going to try and intertwine the teams and break the rules.”

While continued practices and upcoming games may be mired in uncertainty, Taylor looks forward to telling his stories in the future about weekly tests and practicing while masked, “I’m going to joke with my kids, ‘Yeah, we were in a pandemic, we had to wear masks, there were zombies everywhere.’”