Athletes beat the heat – scarlet and black

When Grinnell College athletes arrived on campus for the start of the fall semester during the week of August 13, they were greeted by a heat wave. Amid temperatures reaching more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit and extreme humidity, athletes are still training.

“We were warming up and were already dripping with sweat,” said Quinby Rainey, 27, an athlete on the cross country team. “I couldn’t even tell if the water was from the humidity or just sweat. We ran around the lake and it felt like we had all just jumped, it was so bad.

“It was tough,” said Alyssa Trapp, 26, an athlete on the women’s tennis team. “I’m from the Midwest and I don’t think I’ve ever played in extreme heat like this before.”

Coaches of the soccer and cross country teams talked about how they have adapted practices to make play safer for the athletes on their teams.

Bert Green `26 (left), Will Reyes `25, Keaton Fitzgerald `26 and Tim Johnson `24 (kneeling) during football practice. (Evan Hine)

Head football coach Brent Barnes, along with the football coaching staff and athletic trainers, made adjustments to workouts in order to adapt to the heat. More water was provided during breaks, practices were shortened or rescheduled to the morning instead of the afternoon, and players were allowed to practice with only their helmets or shoulder pads instead of full pads.

“A lot of this was handled days or hours ahead of time when we knew this was going to be an issue,” Barnes said. “I knew one of the practices was going to be a little longer, so we just used helmets and made it more of a run.”

Keegan Parrott, assistant cross country coach and track and field coach, said he and Sarah Purnell, assistant cross country coach and track and field coach, “thought about the safety of the athletes and we would never put them in a situation that we thought they would be in.” Harm them.”

Parrott and Purnell moved practices from 4:15 p.m. to 6:15 a.m. and canceled practice on the first day of class.

“We also made sure to put in the effort and emphasize that,” Parrott said. “If you focus on effort level, it will be comprehensive. It will take into account the effort your body is putting in to reach a safe temperature, allowing you to keep going.

Meredith Nead, 24, and Betty Lynn, 25, two of the top captains of the women’s frisbee team, discussed the challenges of introducing new players to the team during a heat wave.

“We had a lot of events planned for the first week back on campus. We wanted to get more players on the field and for everyone to help make the Frisbee community visible,” Ned said. “It ended up being very difficult because of the heat. We had to move our quarrels.

“People were barely able to stand outside, so having people running outside was a big ask,” she said. Fewer people were able to attend than in years past, largely due to the heat, she added.

Although Frisbee drills are still taking place, leaders have implemented precautions such as shortening practice times, giving players more rest periods and supplying water.

From left: Hannah Roth `27, Emma Wharton Hsieh `27, Eleanor Elliot Rudd `25 and Gianna Pollack `27 run during cross country practice. (Evan Hine)

“Physical health is the most important thing,” Lin said. “While we still want people to have a lot of fun, we also care about their bodies.”

Despite the challenges of the heat, some athletes, like Eleanor Elliott Rudd `25 in cross country, found the heat bearable.

“I’m from Iowa, so I love running in the humidity all summer long. I think it helps adjust to it. The team is really positive and upbeat, so you can get through it. It’s definitely easier with people because you’re distracted, which is nice,” she said.

Likewise, 25-year-old Andrew Kozaya, the football team’s defensive lineman, spoke about how helpful the heatwave was in preparing for the team’s game against Lyon College in Arkansas on Saturday, September 2.

“I personally don’t think the heatwave was a big part of our practice. It definitely made it more difficult, made everyone more tired, but I think it was really good because it helped us prepare for this week’s game,” he said.

Overall, athletes said they expect a similar reaction from coaches in the event of another heat wave.

“When I’m on the field I focus even though it’s hot,” Trapp said. “This is probably the worst all season, so if I can get through this, I can get through anything.”

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