Director of the University of Lynchburg Men and Women’s Cross-Country Track and Field James Sprecher will speak at the U.S. Track and Field and Cross-Country Coaches Association’s Technical Symposium Series.
Sprecher said, “It is a great honor to represent the University of Lynchburg on the national stage. It is an opportunity to sell our program, our institution, and the ODAC with a national audience. As a NCAA Division III coach, it is nice to share the stage with the best coaches and programs in the country. From a recruiting standpoint it always helps to put your name and program out there for others to see.”
The Lynchburg men’s lacrosse team is growing their mustaches and fundraising in an effort to fight cancer with HEADstrong Foundations Mustache Madness.
With fall ball coming to a close for the men’s lacrosse team, they have joined an initiative started by the HEADstrong foundation where college lacrosse players around the country are raising money to support families who are battling cancer. A member of the Lynchburg men’s lacrosse team recently had a close friend diagnosed with testicular cancer and this sparked the interest to get a fund-raising page started.
The University of Lynchburg Men’s Basketball Team is kicked off preparation for their 2021 season with the Hornet Cup.
Israel Lockamy, a senior guard on the University of Lynchburg Men’s Basketball Team, saw the Hornet Cup as a confidence boost for the 2021 season. Lockamy said, “My favorite moment was when our team won the Hornet Cup, and I hit the last half-court shot to win it! It will give me more confidence when shooting in actual games.”
He also said, “Just working out, I have seen many improvements from my teammates, which shows that they have worked on their game throughout the offseason.”
After being away from competition, all University of Lynchburg varsity athletes received the opportunity to compete in the Hornet Cup, a series of intrasquad competitions.
University of Lynchburg Athletic Director, Jonathan Waters, gave more detail about the Hornet Cup. Waters said, “The Hornet Cup was a fun way for our student athletes to be engaged and show their pride during the week leading up to homecoming. They have all worked incredibly hard this semester and sacrificed a lot while not being able to compete externally to represent the University. We are proud of all of our students on campus and look forward to the spring with hopes that the cheers that normally fill our venues can once again be heard and will be louder than ever as we dominate our ODAC foes.”
The University of Lynchburg Men’s Tennis Team is training to ensure they are able to return to competitive play.
Head Coach Christopher Johnson, said, “Our practice format has not really changed due to fluctuations in case count on campus with the coronavirus.”
Johnson also said, “Our players do a great job of working out and playing over the summer. I was immensely proud that they were in great shape when they returned this fall despite the circumstances.”
He said, “Serving and returning is all about starting the point with a purpose. We do put a high priority here. Our objective is to make the other player work as hard as possible and that is unable to happen if we do not start the point.”
On Oct. 5, the University of Lynchburg Men’s Track and Field Team returned to practice in the midst of the pandemic.
As practices began, Head Coach Samuel Reed said, “Fortunately, for our sport the impact is minimal. Our athletes always train in smaller groups for workouts anyways based upon current fitness and ability level. The changing dynamic is the ability for the whole team to go out for a normal or long run as one big unit. There are still opportunities to interact with everyone at the beginning and end of practices within the safety guidelines required. From a practice standpoint, there is not much of a change and the impact on us is minimal. Mentally and emotionally there is a lot more of a demand to help the students manage the drastic change in campus life and ensure we do not have major issues from a mental health standpoint. We definitely have to invest way more time having individual meetings to ensure our student-athletes stay on track and connected with the proper campus resources to ensure their success in every aspect of life.”
On Sept. 7, 2020, the University of Lynchburg Men’s Soccer Team returned to practice. Senior starter and goalkeeper, Kyle Gallagher said, “It is no doubt a great feeling being back in my favorite place on campus. As far as the ODAC goes it is still too far in the future for us to really set our goals and expectations with so many moving pieces going on from the COVID implications. I just want us to take it one day at a time and let our situation materialize a bit further before we set expectations that we may not have the opportunity to take part in. The ODACS are certainly our team goal in any given “normal” season but we just need to take it one step at a time right now.”
Gallagher also said, “Being a role model is something that I am striving to do for our team. I am being more vocal with my teammates and trying to give all the new guys confidence and the best advice to succeed on and off the field. I try to help the team with reminders and grabbing the gear on the way out and many of the smaller things. My focus is to be as consistent and reliable with all of our team expectations and just try to lead by example. I think the most important aspect of a leader is that the team can choose who they look up to. If the guys want to look up to me, I will gladly take on that responsibility, and if they choose someone else then that will not impact how I go about being the best teammate I can be.”
University of Lynchburg Interim Women’s Volleyball Head Coach, Hannah Givens is enthusiastic about resuming the postponed volleyball season in spring 2021.
Givens said, “When I stepped foot on the campus, I easily realized how special this University is. I never in my wildest dreams thought I would become head coach, but I am so thankful that I have been given this opportunity. I wanted to become a hornet because I saw the community that the individuals here shared. When you talk to the students, faculty, and staff, it is obvious that being a hornet is something that everyone is proud of.”
Despite not being able to coach any matches yet as head coach, Givens has experience as she was the assistant coach last year for Head Coach Beth Ellinger, her predecessor at the University of Lynchburg.
On Sept. 7, 2020, the University of Lynchburg began allowing in-person classes and athletic practices. When the University initially moved to Alert Level 2, many coaches were disappointed in the turn of events.
Enza Steele, head coach of the women’s field hockey team, said, “Disappointment was my initial reaction but my primary thought was that the students and campus need to be safe. Another week of no in person contact is okay as long as the campus is safer, and we get better control on this pandemic. My players were able to get outside and do fitness training which helped with their own disposition.”
At the University of Lynchburg the golf teams are striving to be leaders in their community by excelling in academics and golf.
Harrison Hodgert, a junior golfer at the University devotes his time to academics, golf, and the Student Athletic Advisory Committee or SAAC. Hodgert said, “I believe I have left somewhat of a mark at the University especially for the golf program. I have tried my hardest academically and in golf and will continue to do so until I graduate. I hope to break and create more records for the golf program, but all records are meant to be broken and I know there will be a new guy who comes along that will be much better than me. I hope that whatever record I break or make helps encourage the new guys to play better and create their own mark at the university.”
Many varsity athletes are heartbroken that they are not able to play their favorite sport; however, many varsity head coaches are encouraging their players to use their spare time to serve fellow classmates. Some varsity athletes have used this opportunity to serve as Peer Assistant Supplemental Studies or PASS leaders, in the writing center, and as lab assistants.
Senior tennis player Ellen Druebbisch is a PASS leader for Organic Chemistry. Druebbisch said, “The most rewarding part of being a PASS leader is when the students get excited after they do better on a quiz or test than they thought they would. I really enjoy helping the students understand the material in class so they can be successful. I also love the relationships I have built with my PASS students and look forward to seeing them each week.”
When club sports athletes arrived at the University of Lynchburg on Aug. 12, they envisioned practicing and competing in their favorite sport. However, club sports teams have followed the policies that were implemented by the varsity teams. As a result, club sports teams will not be able to have large team practices and will not be able to compete through the remainder of 2020.
Recently, Director of Club Sports, Benjamin Smith explained that the university’s move to Alert Level 2 would affect club sports. Smith said, “The policy is that we would just be temporarily suspending club sports until we go back down below three active cases on campus. The college population is not hit hard by this virus. College students at least some of them believe this which makes them sometimes not take it as seriously. We can still right the ship, but the whole student body population needs to follow protocols.”
On Tuesday, Aug. 11, Shellenberger Field at the University of Lynchburg was repurposed and used as a movie theatre. For the Lynchburg Men’s soccer team, this was a historic but bittersweet moment.
When Kyle Gallagher arrived at the University of Lynchburg, he envisioned his senior season and fourth consecutive year as the starting goalkeeper, winning the ODAC championship and competing for the national title. Since the ODAC announced that all fall sports competitions will be postponed until the end of 2020, Gallagher’s dreams for his senior season have been postponed, and the dream of competing for a national title has been cancelled.