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Spring athletes struggle with inclement weather, academics and social lives this season

The transition from winter to spring was a tumultuous one for Montgomery County. The winter season left the County with nine snow days, roughly half of which interfered with spring athletics. On top of the fluctuating weather conditions and inconsistent practice schedules, spring athletes are still struggling with management of their academic and social lives.

Seniors Courtney Bruch and Janie Hammaker, varsity lacrosse players at Walter Johnson, both said they were lucky enough to have access to their turf field during bouts of inclement weather. As a result, they did not have to reschedule as many games. Bruch, who is a captain, said, “Personally, I tried my best to stay on top of my game, but it’s hard to play lacrosse in torrential downpour and sleet.”

For baseball and softball players, outdoor practice time was more difficult to obtain.  Captains and seniors Sarah Duncan and Kristen Scott of Walter Johnson’s varsity softball team relayed that they were confined to the gym and had to share gym time with other teams, which made tryouts longer and practice less productive. “We have been playing catch up ever since,” said Duncan, “Sometimes the schedule would work out where we wouldn’t get gym time and thus would have a forced day off.”  Scott pointed out that every other team in the county was most likely dealing with the same weather conditions.

Senior Max Vogel, captain of Walt Whitman’s varsity baseball team, pointed out that for a sport like baseball or softball, there’s only so much to be accomplished in a gym.  Vogel said, “I think we found our stride offensively and pitching-wise and are definitely having a successful year but the fielding is still a little behind where it should be.”

In addition to catching up on their playing abilities and accounting for lost practice time, spring players still have to deal with the common setbacks that most athletes face.  Commitment to athletics leaves a limited amount of time for schoolwork and socializing.  Cheyenne Bartolomei, captain and varsity softball player at Walt Whitman, said it is difficult to play sports over two hours a day and still have the motivation to go home and study. Bartolomei said, “I think because of playing softball I’ve learned how to sit down and actually do my work because I don’t have as much time as I do without softball.”  Senior Ben Casagnetti, also a captain of Walt Whitman’s varsity baseball team, said he tends to receive better grades in season because he is more conscious of time management.

When it comes to their social lives, many athletes find their friends on the team.  Junior Alex Fehlinger, track runner at Richard Montgomery, said, “Sports add another medium for me to make friends and spend time with people, so they end up benefiting my social life.”  Juniors Julian Francis and Holly Pifer both play lacrosse at Northwood.  Francis said his social life is not hindered by the athletic rigor because his closest friends are also on the boys’ lacrosse team.  Pifer said, “Sports don’t interfere with my social life because I am so close to the girls on my team.  They are the people I look forward to seeing.

Article by Leigh Cooke, the MoCo Student staff correspondent

Graphics by Eva Shen, the MoCo Student staff graphic artist

About The MoCo Student

In 2012, Student Member of the Board of Education John Mannes created a countywide press network to help build a conduit to share fresh and relevant information written by youth to the wider Montgomery County student body.

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