Christian Rodriguez, Assistant Sports Editor
With the return of the Todd and Jenn Hutton Recreation Center, affectionately called “the dome,” student athletes are back to using the facility for team workouts and practices.
After its collapse from the massive snow storm that destroyed the original facility in the spring 2017 semester, athletes were back doing their workouts in a crammed weight room in the Clark Athletic Center.
Utica College junior Donald Malone says that he is grateful to have the dome back because there is “more space to operate.”
“Now I can get a workout in with less people around,” Malone said. “When the dome was down I had to wait to use certain equipment, and it affected the efficiency of my workout.”
Malone also stressed that now the dome is back he can use the facility at almost anytime and still “get a good lift in.”
“I would have to get up really early before my classes to beat the traffic and get my daily workout in when the dome was down,” Malone explained.
UC junior baseball player Tim Quinlan appreciates the return of the dome as he said it is helpful for him and for the team as a whole. He explained that it feels good to finally use the batting cages again and that his team can “actually get some swings in.”
Luckily for Quinlan and the baseball team, the dome was partially ready for use just in time for their season.
“We have been lucky enough to use the turf for the entirety of our season for this year,” Quinlan said. “So, we have been able to get ground balls and fly balls.”
Before the dome was completely ready, Quinlan mentioned that the team could not hit in cages, so the hitters had an extra practice a day just for hitting.
“That was difficult at times with those practices conflicting with our class schedules,” Quinlan said.
Quinlan remembers when the dome originally collapsed in the middle of their season last year, stating that the team had a tough time finding practice time and space due to rain.
“We were fortunate enough to be able to get on the turf at night but it was still hard to get a solid practice in,” Quinlan said. “Having the dome back helps us keep a consistent practice schedule.”
Senior jumper for the men’s track and field team Quayree Bull said “being back in the dome is great” because the team started to feel divided since they were never practicing together or saw each other as much.
“Now I see my teammates and coaches everyday, and we feel like a family again,” Bull added.
Without the dome, Bull said that the team had many 6 a.m. practices at Hamilton College that “weren’t fun,” and he is glad it’s over.
“Now that the dome is back, we have our own place to train, and it makes getting better a lot easier,” Bull said.
The senior praises those who remodeled the dome and said he is “very happy” with the new dome.
“They did an amazing job,” Bull said.
Teammate Ka’Sean Watlington said their practices are “way better compared to last year’s outdoor season.”
“As a jumper last year, we couldn’t train because of the lack of sand pits around UC,” Watlington said.
Watlington is also glad 6 a.m. practices at Hamilton are over.
“That place is not as good as the dome,” Watlington said. “I’ve jumped my best just by training in the dome.”