Nick McAdam, Tangerine Clerk
It’s transition time for a portion of Utica College sports at the moment. The UC Pioneers’ football team has a pair of regular season games left, while men’s soccer concluded their season this past weekend. Other teams such as women’s soccer will continue their season into the tournament Empire 8 as the number two seed.
The winter sports season is kicking into gear, while on the other hand, a wealth of spring sports are still in the offseason period. Athletic programs tend to use this time to recruit and physically prepare for the upcoming season, and this was echoed by Utica lacrosse coach Mike Parnell.
Parnell’s squad participates in fall ball competition to keep in shape during a long offseason. To go along with that, the Pioneers lax team gives a lot of credit to Sports Performance Institute (SPI) for strength training throughout the winter.
“We keep the team engaged by working hard with our offseason strength and conditioning program. With SPI. Our strength coach is Nate Fredcell,” Parnell said.
“In the offseason, we are allowed to have 15 practices and one fall scrimmage.”
Parnell also notes that the team is recruiting all year round; it doesn’t matter if it’s in season or not. As for the lacrosse team, a handful of players are in their first-year or sophomore year of experience on the team.
To put it in even more of a perspective, the Pioneers currently have near 15 players under the junior year level. On the other hand, seven juniors are going into their final year after this season, while five players are getting ready to graduate. A balance has been incorporated into Parnell’s team to replace the older players with fresh faces.
From a player’s point of view, the offseason may be less of business, but rather a process of trying to improve oneself for the next campaign. Pioneers softball player and sophomore infielder Madison Judge notes the importance of bonding and healthy choices; both of which can serve a host of difficulty when the season is not in session.
Judge always tries to keep in touch with her fellow teammates while sticking to a strong dietary and fitness schedule to keep her going during the offseason.
“All year long, whether in season or not, it is important to keep your body healthy and fueled. I try to make healthy choices in the dining hall every day. As for workouts, we lift Monday Wednesday and Friday in the mornings and we all hit on our own so we still have stuff going on that we need to be healthy and ready for,” Judge said.
“We do several team bonding activities. We went to the root farm and did the ropes course and zip lined that was very fun. We have dinners together and all enjoy each others company and hang out in our spare time. You will always see softball girls sitting together in the library, our team chemistry is awesome this year. Our volunteer activities are also good ways for us to bond while doing community service.”
The offseason has its downsides and upsides for both Parnell and Judge. From a student perspective, things tend to be a lot less for Judge which allows her to work on other aspects of life.
Yet, the anticipation for the season shared by both Parnell and Judge is the biggest challenge.
“The best part of offseason is getting to get harder courses out of the way and having more time to focus on school,” Judge said.
“The worst part of the offseason is not being able to see the team every day,” Parnell said.