The UVA men’s and women’s squash teams returned to practice during the second week of September. Since then, both squads have steadily built up their training regimen, which now includes on-court sessions four days a week and two days dedicated to strength and conditioning. According to women’s team captain Emily Woodworth, the return has been a gratifying experience: “Up until a couple weeks ago we were the only women’s squash team in the country that was able to practice (since then I think a couple more teams have gotten back on court). Even though there are some very noticeable differences between this season and previous ones, I feel immensely grateful just to be with the team, especially in the face of such atypical circumstances.”
All practice activities are run in accordance with guidelines from Sports Medicine, with players wearing specialized full-face visors while on court and standard masks while off court. Social distancing protocols and four-player pods have also been implemented.
Despite the intrusion of COVID 19 and accompanying adjustments, practices have served to reconnect teammates and provide a familiar structure to the players’ lives. “It has meant a great deal to all of us—players and coaches–to have this opportunity to return to in-person life,” notes assistant coach Grant White, adding, “This is a stressful time for every individual and every family. We are so fortunate that we can come together as a team, support one another, and focus on a sport we love.”
Official CSA competition has been delayed until at least January 9. Players and coaches are remaining optimistic that there will be a season, even if shortened, in the Spring Semester. However, their goal right now is individual progress and team building. First-year Myles McIntyre is remaining positive as his UVA career begins, noting “Being back on court, especially now that I’m here at UVA, it’s a one-of-a-kind feeling. I think everyone is stoked to work hard again after things shut down for many of us in the early spring—and that is showing out on the court. This is honestly the perfect time for us to bond as a team and improve. We are definitely fortunate to have this opportunity and I know we all want to make the most of it.”