The Golden Eagles are back in session.
Three days into the St. Joseph School District’s summer athletics re-entry plan, Bishop LeBlond student-athletes and coaches have quickly got into the swing of things.
“We’ve had a hundred strong all three days,” Bishop LeBlond Athletic Director Michael Evans said. “So that was really positive to start the year with having that many kids come out, but like we told them, it’s not about having a hundred kids on day three. Let’s have a hundred-plus on day 14, a hundred-plus on day 30, or a hundred-plus on day 35.”
Like many other high schools across the city and area, Bishop LeBlond began conditioning outdoors this week.
“It’s really fun to get back into it and socialize with everybody and just be with your peers again, doing stuff with your friends, working out and getting back into it, trying to become normal again,” Bishop LeBlond sophomore Tatum Studer said. “It’s so far been a lot smoother and I’m glad we got into it.”
“There’s no words to describe how happy, excited and truthfully emotional we’ve been. I don’t think any of us realized how much we missed the kids until we saw them day one,” Evans said.
With the help of a few coaches, the Golden Eagles put together their own plans involving a multitude of workouts such as stadium runs, hurdle drills and calisthenics.
“I like how we’re working hard and getting ready for the season. I know other schools have had a head start, but I’m ready to put in the work and see everybody else improve,” Bishop LeBlond senior Tessa Pinkelman said. “You could tell who worked hard and who didn’t, but I’m hoping everybody can grow together a little bit and get back on the same level.”
Evans added the self-motivation of every student-athlete has been a key factor in the school’s success so far.
“They’ve really exceeded our expectations. Not that we didn’t think they could, we just wondered if they would because it’s just getting back into it. But they’ve done a tremendous job, we couldn’t have asked anything more from them after the first week,” Evans said.
Roughly two months stuck at home in quarantine can be a temptation to forget about getting in shape, but that wasn’t the case for the two Golden Eagles.
“It was nice to be independent and work on my own speed and figure out what works for me,” Pinkelman said. “I’m excited to work more.”
“I do a lot of working out and playing basketball, like every day,” Studer said. “But I hope we can get back to normal and practice in the gym together.”
Only a few sessions in, the Golden Eagles are just happy to get back into a rhythm again.
“This summer is really unique because we’re not really using it to prepare for the fall to win those championships, although that’s our goal every year,” Evans said. “But it’s more so just to get the kids back, get them active again, get them doing something, get them around each other — really building that culture again of this is who we are, this is what we want to be and this is how we want to be successful.”