Sports Spotlight: West Coast Athletes


Photo Courtesy of Union Athletics

Tyler Mar , Columnist

While most of the people one meets at Union are predominately from the American Northeast, there are a few of us who come from the West Coast. An even smaller group are Union’s West Coast student-athletes. I reached out to a number of student-athletes and asked about how they are coping with the change to remote instruction and what they’re doing to stay in fighting shape for next season. 

Many student-athletes are dismayed by the loss of a spring season. The Dutchwomen Softball team received a particularly large blow as they were days away from traveling to Florida for their annual spring training trip. While the baseball team was fortunate their training trip occurred before the pandemic, the softball team was less fortunate. Julissa Malana ’22, felt a sense of “devastation,” at the loss of a much look-forwarded to time to play ball and bond with her teammates.   

Some athletes have an easier time finding training resources than others. While everyone is confined to their homes with limited access to equipment, some are having a more difficult time than others with these constraints. Union’s swimmers and divers have found that pools are in short supply these days and have continued training in other ways. Elise Liebow ’22,  has managed to continue her training in absence of a pool by going on weekly jogs to keep her endurance and at-home workouts. Like many students, Liebow has found adjusting to remote instruction less than convenient as attending Zoom class three time zones back takes a toll. 

This pandemic and subsequent stay at home order have given people an abundance of free time. Stephanie Libonati ’21, a member of the Volleyball team, enjoys walking her dogs and appreciates being able to stay connected with her teammates via weekly Zoom calls when not attending class. While the volleyball team would not normally be in season at the moment, Libonati and her teammates are still missing out on valuable off-season training and team bonding. To supplement this, while everyone is stuck at home, the athletic trainers provided the Dutchwomen an at-home workout set to keep them busy and ready to hit the court upon their return to campus. 

Rochelle Nuqui ’22, a sophomore on the Dutchwomen’s Softball team, expressed a common sentiment prevalent among students. Since returning home and adjusting to life in quarantine, she has had difficulty staying motivated to work out or to throw a softball; “I was overwhelmed and exhausted with the world’s unprecedented situation. Losing a spring season that we worked so hard for…was tough, but my team and my family got me through it.” She has even found an unlikely source of motivation, her younger brother. He keeps her motivated as they go on runs together to hold each other accountable. When asked what keeps her motivated and what she looks forward to, she responded, “I look towards any light of positivity I can get. I really can’t wait to be back on the field and at Union again.”