New Paltz Athlete Reflections on the Lost Fall 2020 Season

Players on the Hawks women's field hockey team huddle up during a practice. Last season, the team finished with a 10-8 overall record. (Photo courtesy of Monica D'Ippolito)

Last August, the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) made the heartbreaking decision to cancel all games and championships for the fall 2020 season. In November, the cancelation extended to winter sports due to the ongoing coronavirus spikes throughout the country. This means the majority of sport teams at SUNY New Paltz will have to wait a whole other year before getting the opportunity to play games again, and the spring semester athletes can only hope the same doesn’t happen to them.

Although disappointing, many New Paltz athletes were still able to get something out of their fall season, including a modified practice schedule to stay in shape. Below, these athletes reflect on their fall semester and their hopes for the spring. 

Equestrian: Third-year Brie Costello

“Practice went really well. We got a lot done, especially for the little amount of time that we had this season. It was good we got to experience it differently, it always adds a little more of a challenge when adjusting to change, but overall it wasn’t much different other than the fact that the fall is usually our big competition season and we could not do any competition this year. It was weird adjusting to having to ride with a mask, but it’s not a difficult adjustment whatsoever. Anyone can do it and if we’re keeping each other and everyone safe there’s never an issue with that! The hardest part was adjusting to a different type of practice, but after a few practices it was a habit. Usually over break we typically ride at home or on our own just to keep consistency and try to stay physically fit so when [the] season comes around we are prepared for it. I’m hoping in the spring we will have competitions again. There was some talk about combining two shows in one day so we have less contact with other teams. Everything seems up in the air right now, but I would love competition to come back because it’s a little more motivation to better myself as a rider.”

Field Hockey: Second-year Tasia Plunkett

“I think practices ran very smoothly this past fall. We got an opportunity to work on technical skills and play together in small groups. It was definitely beneficial. I think the hardest part is only playing with half of the team. It limits the drills you can do with such small numbers. Our coach gave us a workout schedule for over break to follow and stay in shape. We also do volt over Zoom sometime, [which] started in April of last year when we were supposed to have our spring season. Hopefully this spring we’ll get to train as a full team. There has also been some conversation about a SUNYAC play day, but that’s just an idea right now. Any opportunity to train and compete is all we can really ask for right now.”

Volleyball: Second-year Mia Waddell

“Practices this fall were productive, fun and competitive. We played a lot of doubles and triples, keeping a running score throughout the season. The biggest obstacle we had in practices was the amount of people we could have in the gym. Although, Coach Giufre was still able to put us through effective drills focused in aspects of the game we needed to work on. Over break we are expected to take advantage of our time off from school to stay in shape. This spring is likely to be similar to fall, with small group practices a couple times a week. We can only hope to have some sort of competition against other schools. We plan to implement virtual workouts to train for a full fall season.”

Lacrosse: Second-year Sean McLaughlin

“We made the most of it [practice]. It wasn’t easy, but Coach Stew made the practices as interesting and as competitive as possible. [It was good] just to be able to get out onto the field and forget all the other stress. The field was my escape. Over break all I can do is try and put myself in the best position to help my team in the upcoming season. I think this spring season we will be playing mainly SUNYAC teams, I don’t see us going away for spring break or traveling out of state for us to play games.” 

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About Emily O'Neil 114 Articles
Emily O’Neil is a third-year public relations major with a minor in creative writing, originating from Clifton Park, NY. This is her sixth semester on the Oracle and second as Sports Editor. Her favorite team is the New York Yankees even though they keep disappointing her. You can reach her by emailing