Athletes Spend Spring Break Training

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Media by Carter Van Buskirk

Senior Reece Merifield, midfielder, chases down a ball in the Mustangs end with little pressure.

“It’s exhausting,” Reece Merrifield, senior and varsity soccer player, said, “The most hectic part of being an athlete is the beginning of the season.”

Over the week-long Spring Break, varsity girls soccer competed in three games in Jackson, Mo., in addition to two mandatory training sessions at MHS.

Merrifield returned to campus from her break on Wednesday, March 24, limiting her vacation time, to continue practicing with the varsity soccer team.

With only two practices to prepare for three games, Merrifield said she felt overwhelmed from practicing so many skills in so few days.

However, Merrifield said the fewer practices over the break provided a necessary period of recovery after normally practicing five to six days a week and up to three games.

Many spring sports teams are practicing over breaks due to an increase in scheduling competitions.

“I was a little disappointed, but it’s the job,” Merrifield said. “Being committed to a sport you love, you have to make sacrifices.”

I was a little disappointed, but it’s the job. Being committed to a sport you love, you have to make sacrifices.”

— Reece Merrifield, senior

Leading off the team’s Spring Break, varsity girls soccer defeated Howell Central 3-0, and the team continued their winning streak in Jackson, Mo.,, earning a 4-0 victory over Helias Catholic High School.

Before the season began, the varsity soccer coaches communicated to the athletes about the amount of practices and games during Spring Break. Shawn McAteer, assistant varsity soccer coach, said the athletes’ work and travel plans can affect their practice schedule over break.

“We don’t ask our players to do much with us in the off season or summer due to their commitment to club teams, so I don’t have a problem asking them to commit to us for three months,” McAteer said.

Although the break could have provided opportunities for McAteer to vacation, she said she embraced the opportunity to spend time with the team, and she looks forward to future opportunities for travelling and bonding with the team during Spring Break competitions.

The coaches implemented the Spring Break games into the schedule last season, but those were cancelled due to COVID-19. McAteer said they made the same decision for this season to avoid having ten days without training and competing.

“We feel that staying active during break is beneficial for our development and better prepares us for the season,” McAteer said. “Playing a high school sport is a commitment that comes with sacrifices,and it is a balance of work, rest and recovery.”

Players who decided to spend the entire break without practicing their sport come back at a disadvantage compared to those who practiced even a little.”

— Nikita Bobrusev, junior

Nikita Bobrusev, junior, took the opportunity to attend two optional varsity volleyball practices over Spring Break.

Similar to Merrifield’s varsity soccer practices, Bobrusev said the varsity volleyball practices were less intense, consisting of drills focused on specific skills such as blocking, defense and scrimmaging.

With practices being optional, Bobrusev said the athletes benefit from not having a mandatory commitment over their break, but an extra opportunity to improve.

Those who did not attend the practices weren’t penalized, but Bobrusev said he decided to dedicate a small portion of his break to training since practices did not interfere with any plans.

“Players who decided to spend the entire break without practicing their sport come back at a disadvantage compared to those who practiced even a little,” Bobrusev said.