Coronavirus impact on NCAA DIII Track and Field Indoor Championships

By Marion Edwards

As news of the coronavirus spreads, the effects made its way to Iowa, ruining a shot at an historic moment for Loras College Athletics. Last weekend, the Loras College Track and Field Team was set to compete in the NCAA DIII National Indoor Track and Field Championships in Winston Salem, NC at the JDL Fast Track. 

The NCAA issued an official statement cancelling all spring and winter championships.

With the Loras women’s and men’s track and field teams set for a weekend of intense competition, the statement killed the fun and excitement. On Thursday, the athletes were alerted that no outside spectators would be allowed into the facility during the championship. Many of the athletes had family and friends who made the long journey to watch them compete and to see the hard work they had put in during the pre-season. 

NCAA President Mark Emmert issued a COVID-19 statement regarding limited attendance.

“The decision is in the best interest of public health including that of coaches, administrators, fans, and most importantly our student-athletes,” Emmert said. “We recognize the opportunity to compete in an NCAA national championship is an experience of a lifetime for the students and their families. Today, we will move forward and conduct championships consistent with the current information and will continue to monitor and make adjustments as needed.”

Unfortunately, within 24 hours, the bad news kept coming.

“Based on the advice received from state, federal, and other public health authorities, with the priority being focusing on the health and well-being of our campus communities, it is with unprecedented sadness the Presidents Council concluded that all conference competition will be cancelled for the remainder of the spring season,” said Emily Adlfinger, Director of Athletic Communications. “The cancellation includes all A-R-C spring regular season competition, championships, and awards”.

Sophomore Elayna Bahl was set to compete in the women’s 60 meter hurdle dash at the 2020 NCAA Division III National Indoor Championships until she heard the bad news.

“My worst feelings are for the seniors, I am saddened to not see them have a chance to go out there and show their hard work,” Bahl said. “I’m sad not to be able to compete, based off of the amount of confidence I believe has been built up since last year.”

The team seniors that were supposed to compete this past weekend included decorated athletes Gabrielle Noland, Terrianna Black, Patrick Mikel, Tyson Morrison, Shamari Scott, and Michelle Budden. Many of the seniors were devastated by the news and were unable to comment about the situation. 

Athletes across the country are shocked by the decision to cancel all spring events and practices. The hard work and motivation that every athlete brings to their sport is something that can never be stunted. The NCAA is in the process of determining how to handle eligibility status of college athletes, especially of the seniors. Amidst the chaos, the Duhawks will continue to stay strong and keep positive mindsets about the upcoming athletic seasons. 

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