Toni Pellington

Toni Pellington is a track and field athlete at Savannah State University. 

As the coronavirus continues to inhibit where people can go and what they can do, student-athletes spent months preparing for a season that only started and will never finish.

Some of these student-athletes have found the balance in devoting their time to online classes while maintaining their physical fitness; however, some have had trouble keeping up with the physical conditioning.

Track and field athlete Toni Pellington has found it rather difficult to integrate basic household items into her training regime. As a field athlete for Savannah State who specializes in the high and long jump, she says that it was depressing to prepare and then not compete.

“Even though we left campus some weeks ago now, the feeling of knowing that I won’t be able to compete after all the hard work really got me upset,” she said. Her season should have officially started this semester, but the virus halted any plans of that happening.

“Just imagine waking up every weekday [at 5 a.m.] when everybody else on the campus fast asleep, and you’re doing that for six months just to be told you won’t be able to compete," she said. "This thing has discouraged me a lot.”

Pellington said she understands the protective measures ensure everyone’s safety, however, but it still makes her sad.

“It needs to end now before I start getting fat and don’t know how to jump again," she said jokingly.

When asked if the coaches have been keeping in touch, she said yes.

“From when we were told to leave they have been checking on us making sure we are OK. And yeah, they check on us to see if we’re still carrying out the at home training plans," she said. “It’s hard though…not the exercises, just finding the urge to do them. Because now, it’s like we’re doing them and we don’t know when to look forward to a meet or anything.”

Her situation is that she probably does not find the motivation to train as hard as opposed to when she was on the campus. “It's not that I don’t do them," she said, “But to, you know, get out the bed and go outside to jog and do some lunges…yeah."

With no coach around, the workouts are different. She does try her best to get by however jogging for at least 15 minutes every day. “I don’t have a sandpit at my house," Pellington said, “So I definitely can’t practice jumping in a pit…so that’s the only downside.”

The lack of key equipment and no clear sign when this will end is discouraging for her.

Simon Brown, basketball coach of the Meadow Brook High School basketball team in Kingston, Jamaica, said he has done his best keep in touch with his boys.

“I know some a them (players) have a lot going on right now where this mess is concerned, so I won’t really too pressure them with any exercising and so on.” He said, “The onus is really on them to find the time to maintain their fitness. At least I’d hope that’s what they at least trying to maintain even though nobody knows when this crap will be over.”

He said he was saddened about his seniors, especially.

“I feel it for them to be honest," he said. "Everything going be different for them. I don’t even think they care about training or anything right now because some don’t even know how they going graduate.”

A similar situation for many senior level students across different parts of the world.

Others who are not collegiate athletes are having trouble keeping on track with their fitness goals. 

Ryann Lewis, a Savannah State student, had been using the school's facilities to maintain her fitness. She could often be found in the university's gym or running on the track.

Though she still on the campus, the other facilities such as the gym, pool and the stadium have all been closed to student access.

“I can’t do anything," she said. At home in New York, she would participate in kickboxing and other physical activities. “I can’t do that…I don’t have anyone to hold any pads or mitts for me, and nobody to spar with. So I can’t even do that.”

When asked about what she is doing to keep herself active and healthy, she said, “I still try to eat right and just things in the house…Sadly that’s all I can do. I miss being able to train like how I want to though for real for real.”

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