Sports teams use winter break for more training time

This winter, the average Norwich student had a minimum of three weeks to spend with their family over the holiday break depending on when their last final was. Not everyone was so lucky, however.

 “Some of our athletes had only a few days home,” said Jessalyn Sweeney, a senior majoring in physical education from Stanford, N.Y., who plays both guard and forward for the women’s basketball team, “because of their final schedule, and the fact that we had to be back on the day after Christmas.”

Most agree that it is difficult spending so little time with their loved ones, but it has gotten easier over the years. “You are gone so much and come back so early and you don’t get to really spend time with your family,” said Meghan Papagno, a junior English major from Wakefield, Mass, who plays forward on the women’s hockey team.

The woman's basketball team enjoys some time on the beach during winter training trip to Florida. (Kristine Brammer Photo)

The woman’s basketball team enjoys some time on the beach during winter training trip to Florida. (Kristine Brammer Photo)

“Being a junior now I’m used to it, but it does put a hindrance on being home because you know you have to go back so soon. “

According to Papagno, the team had their first game of the New Year on Jan. 6, and therefore had to report for two-a-day practices the morning of Jan. 1.

“Coming back so soon was hard,” said Abigail Wright, a freshman from Hartland, Vt., who plays guard for the women’s basketball team, “but in high school we only get about nine days for break, which is what I had this year, so it wasn’t so bad.”

While the women did have their breaks cut the shortest, they traveled to Florida as a team and were able to enjoy the nice weather.

The team was able to spend Christmas day with their families, but at 6 a.m. the next day, they were on a flight from Burlington to Florida, said Erin Clark, a junior biology major from Newbury, Vt., who is a forward on the women’s basketball team.

Even though it isn’t ideal for most to come back so early, it seems as though the time spent on campus and with their teams without distractions of school and other students and stresses, allows for more time to focus on their game and sport.

“Our team had practice on the Jan. 1,” said Shane Gorman, a junior communications major from Trumbull, Conn., who plays forward for the men’s hockey team, “but we had a holiday tournament on the 5th and 6th, so it was time for us to get back to business.”

Gorman went on to say the peace and quiet of campus and lack of classes crammed into their schedules made it easier for his team to relax and do what the sport they love with each other.

Not only is there time to focus on skill, but the teams also get to focus on each other and their team chemistry, which is just as important as the skills and talent a team possesses.

“While we do dedicate everything to hockey,” said Chris Czarnota, a junior business management major from Wakefield, Mass., who is a goalie for the men’s hockey team, “it was great to just get to relax, off the ice with the guys, and it gave us a chance to bond as a team.”

The teams all continue their efforts to improve their skills and team chemistry as school’s second semester comes back into full swing. At this point in the season, the women’s basketball team’s conference record is 2-6, the women’s ice hockey team sits 13-1 in the conference, and the men’s ice hockey conference record is 11-1.


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