By Emily Glory Peters
After an agonizing wait, Scripps welcomes the CMS Athenas, its intercollegiate women’s athletic team comprised of students from Claremont McKenna, Harvey Mudd, and Scripps Colleges, back to the field this fall. Together with her staff and coaches, CMS Athletics Director Erica Jasper is ensuring the team is as safe as possible.
“It’s really been a combination of planning, collaboration with the other campuses, and education for our coaches, staff, and student-athletes,” says Jasper. She notes that the team is hosting team-specific educational sessions when the students return to campus. Jasper is introducing a few changes to help meet and exceed safety protocols. These are in accordance with guidance from state and county public health officials, the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC), and the NCAA.
“Team meetings may be outdoors or via Zoom. Locker rooms will only be used for changing and showering. Team travel is masked with student-athletes and coaches physically distanced whenever possible,” she says. “With LA County requiring masks while indoors in public spaces, it’ll be a change. But we’re all pretty used to change at this point.”
Although in-person activities did stop as of March 2020, training and conditioning did not. CMS coaches rose to the creative challenge. They offer synchronous and asynchronous workouts, film review, and strategy sessions to student-athletes via Zoom.
Many Scripps and fellow CMS athletes had opportunities to compete independently at home. Those who could not still managed to gain academic distinction. The Athenas of the CMS women’s tennis and track and field teams earned All-Academic Team honors from the Intercollegiate Tennis Association and United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association, respectively.
Jasper notes that nothing compares to being back on campus to train side-by-side once more. With help from increased safety protocols, she’s confident training and competition will be relatively “normal.” And that’s something the entire college community is hungry for.
“One of the most powerful things about being a college athlete is representing something larger than yourself. There’s nothing better than putting on that jersey and knowing you are representing your school—and in our case, multiple schools!” she says. The valor of the Athenas is sure to bring a much-needed sense of unity even amid the continuing pandemic. Scripps spectators are also excited to cheer them on.
Adds Jasper, “I know our Scripps student-athletes feel a tremendous amount of pride representing both Scripps as well as CMS. I am so excited to see all of our students back on campus. I can’t wait to see our amazing scholar-leader-athletes do what they do best—compete.”