Spring, fall sports to compete


Student athletes say they are happy to get back on the field to compete. Shown, Baseball infielder Tripp Templeton in spring 2020.

Audrey Wais, Editor-in-Chief

After being benched for a season and a half, AACC’s sports teams will begin playing games the first week of March.

Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman lifted an order suspending athletic competitions at public schools countywide, starting Feb. 8.

Baseball, Softball and Men’s Lacrosse teams canceled their first practices, scheduled for Feb. 1, because of snow.

Instead, Baseball and Men’s Lacrosse will start practicing Thursday and Softball will start on Saturday.

But Men’s and Women’s Basketball, Women’s Lacrosse and Volleyball will not compete this spring. (See related story.)

“Despite our cancellation, we’re still very committed to our student athletes and will remain in contact with them for academic support,” Athletic Director Duane Herr added. “But it is our hope that if things do get better, that we can bring those student athletes back in the spring and engage them in some workouts [for practice] at some point.”

Fall sports, including Men’s and Women’s Soccer, were canceled last semester and will make up the lost season starting in April, according to Herr.

Herr said athletes will answer coronavirus screening questions via email on days when they plan to arrive on campus. Athletic trainer Amber Stanley will respond to those who report symptoms of COVID-19 and “guide [them] through their return,” Herr explained.

Players also will wear masks at all times, even when they are playing games and practicing, per a county requirement.

Student athletes said they are happy to be returning to the practice field.

“I think overall [it’s going to] … probably go pretty well,” Baseball first baseman Lennie Lehner said. “The athletic staff did a really good job of … isolating everybody so none of the teams are crossing paths. … So [if] someone test[s] positive, they just have to shut down that one team or just that certain group of people.”

Lehner is a fourth-year health studies and exercise science student.

Like last semester, the athletes will practice in small groups, lessening the potential for widespread infection if anyone comes down with COVID-19.

“Obviously, we need to follow all the protocols and the rules of COVID and everything that’s going on,” said Autumn Foster-Fields, a fourth-year sports management student who has played basketball and lacrosse for the college. “But I think that it’s a really great idea with them bringing the sports back … and I think a lot of people are going to be happy with it.”

Men’s Lacrosse coach Joe Stanilaus said he has high hopes for his team coming back to the field this semester.

“The biggest reason we’re excited is because … last year we had to end early,” Stanilaus said.  “So, we intend on picking up exactly where we left off in regards to how we conduct ourselves on and off the field.”

The spring 2020 sports season ended early when the college closed its campuses before spring break because of the pandemic.

For the upcoming season, fans, including friends and family of athletes and AACC students, may not attend games.

The Athletic Department will stream the games on YouTube.

“We’ve been working in our time away … trying to enhance and grow our streaming capabilities,” Herr said. “That way our games will be streamed and our fans can watch from home.”

Playing spring and fall sports in the same semester complicates scheduling for competitions of sports who share the same field for games, Herr said.

The lacrosse and soccer teams all play on Siegert Field. “That’s not something we can change,” Herr said.