By Pat Carbone – 1851 Staff
On March 8, the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) released a statement approving the 2021 spring sports season with limited conference play. The news comes after a year-long hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Beginning in mid-March, the GNAC sponsored play for baseball, men’s and women’s lacrosse, and softball. The sponsorship means these sports have enough GNAC schools opting-in to compete this spring. Men’s volleyball and men’s and women’s track and field are competing with limited participation. All GNAC competitions have set protocols that include no spectators in attendance, however, all Lasell events will be live-streamed for students and families to watch.
President Michael Alexander is a member of the GNAC Presidents’ Council, composed of each president from all 13 schools that make up the GNAC. Alexander spoke about the council’s decision to approve the 2021 spring season.
“We met in February, and we couldn’t decide,” he said. “There was no agreement among the presidents, the staff or the athletic directors. So we had to wait longer.” One month later, the council met again, this time reaching an agreement allowing the season to take place. “[Lasell Athletics] creates great opportunities for the community to get together and watch, cheer and support their fellow students,” said President Alexander.
For the seniors and graduate students who lost their potential final collegiate year last spring, it was unknown if they would ever get another chance to represent the Lasers one more time. However, with their awarded year of eligibility, these athletes finally have their opportunity to suit up once more.
Director of Athletics Kristy Walter recognizes what this season means for those returning athletes. “I think it means the world to them. I think everybody’s excited for the opportunity to get back out there,” she said.
In his senior year, baseball co-captain Wyatt Sihvonen is one of those students who is prepared. for this to be his last season as a Laser. Sihvoven says emotions are high. “Being [in] my last year here at Lasell makes this season very special, and being able to play one last season with the same guys I’ve been best friends with over the last four years makes this the most important and meaningful season of my playing career, said Sihvonen. “This has been the longest I’ve gone without playing a full season, so the blood’s pumping.”
The experience of losing their sports seasons and their final year of college has created a bond between Lasell students.
Many athletes have been open about how emotional this season will be. It will create memories for athletes, families, and the community as sports return after its longest hiatus in Lasell athletic history.