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Athletes talk about staying in shape through the unknown

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With no school through Easter and no sports until May 4, Sealy student-athletes are going to have to get creative with how they stay in shape while waiting on the call for their sport to resume activity.

School has moved to all online instruction, but weights can’t be lifted virtually and miles can’t be logged into a computer, so the responsibility has fallen onto the athletes to use their time productively.

One athlete who was most certainly taking advantage of that was distance runner Madison Manak who, although he might miss the rest of spring track season, will be preparing for the fall cross country season soon enough anyway.

“(It kind of feels like) there’s no point right now because there’s nothing to compete in,” she said after finishing up a workout at Sealy High School Thursday afternoon just after the UIL’s suspension was extended to May 4. “There was one girl here running the other day but that’s been it. I’ve been out here every other day. It’s kind of eerie but it’s good to get out of the house and get fresh air.”

Coaches have been able to provide some guidance, but it comes down to the athlete to actually put in the time.

“I’ve been telling them that they have to do stuff on their own,” said girls’ soccer head coach Adrian Rocha last Thursday. “Do some cardio on your own, run and dribble with the ball as much as you can so your brain can be fresh.”

“As far as our facilities go, there’s nothing as coaches we can do, we can’t open our facilities up to our players,” said Sealy’s baseball skipper Dane Bennett on the phone last Thursday. “I haven’t sent out any workouts because I didn’t know how long this was going to last. In my mind at first, I thought it would only be a week, so I told them to enjoy it because this was my first time to get a true spring break since my freshman year of high school. So, I was telling them to try to relax a little bit and enjoy it. If you’re a pitcher, go out and throw a flat ground, throw a simulated bullpen. If you’re a hitter, try to go to the cages.”

A couple of his players, Garrett Redden and Carter Cryan, said they’ve already added hitting the cages to their routine through these uncharted times.

“I’ve gone to the gym, worked out, jogged a little bit and have been hitting occasionally,” Redden said over the phone Friday morning. “Not every day but just every two days I’ve hit with my dad.”

“Just been trying to stay active, throwing a little bit going to hit and not just sitting around doing nothing,” Cryan said in a phone interview Friday afternoon. “It’s weird seeing no in-restaurant dining and Walmart and all that going away when it’s so normal for us to go get all the things we need and now it’s all getting shut down.”

“This is different than anything I’ve ever been a part of,” Redden said of the shutdown world. “Kind of an awkward situation. Every so often I might visit some friends or something but it’s not like we can go anywhere.”

With everything canceled for the foreseeable future, one thing that is not is Redden’s commitment to play baseball at the junior college level next year. He doesn’t see this hiatus as affecting him negatively nearing the transition to the step up in competition.

“I think I’ll make up for it in the summer,” he said about the lack of seeing live pitching currently. “I’ve always been a hard worker so I’m still working out, doing what I can to stay in shape and maintain.”

Of course, there is a chance the players could arrange something on their own with an influx of alumni in town with the rest of the college baseball season already canceled.

“One of the last things I talked about before we left from the La Grange tournament and our last game was that with the colleges being canceled, Garret Zaskoda was back in town,” Bennett said. “I know Devin Aguado is coming back, some of our other alumni will be back. Garret had mentioned he wanted to throw some live bullpens against our hitters so the kids can do that on their own time.

“With our baseball fields being open,” he continued,” I don’t have to be there to open it for them. Mrs. Reichardt sent me a video the other day of Rhys throwing a bullpen and I know that’s the beauty of Sealy. It’s a baseball town so these boys know what they need to do to continue working toward, if we do get our chance, being prepared for the level that we need them to be at. There’s not much I’m really trying to do. I’m not trying to push them for the safety reason. Whatever their parents are allowing them to do I hope that they’re taking advantage of that.”

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