Athletes stay fit during COVID-19 restrictions


Logan Dellapina

Jupiter High varsity cheerleader Bianca Stribling participates in daily conditioning for the sideline cheer team.

Sports have returned to Jupiter High, but in a limited capacity because of COVID-19. During the off-season, athletes were forced to get creative to stay fit. 

When Palm Beach County schools switched to distance learning in March, and sports’ seasons were canceled, student athletes had to find ways to keep in shape over quarantine. With the return of sports, the need for athletes to safely and cautiously work out has increased.

Student athletes have had to find ways to stay fit while being mindful of their safety, as well as the safety of others. Jupiter High’s athletes were asked how they were able to stay fit for the upcoming seasons.

“To keep in shape my soccer club would hold Zoom meetings for us to get touches on the ball,” Mary Brown, senior soccer player, said. “I would also do some workouts in my backyard.” 

Brown was able to practice her agility with juggling. For Brown, it was a simple exercise she could do with limited space and household resources.

Vivian Miller, a Jupiter High volleyball player for the girls’ varsity team, also stayed in shape doing exercises at home and in and around her neighborhood. 

“Something I started regularly doing was going to a parking garage and running the stairs,” Miller said. 

This exercise allowed Miller to “build endurance and muscle gain at the same time” and provided an opportunity for her to go outside. 

Because both soccer and volleyball rely on leg endurance and strength, Brown and Miller found themselves focusing on exercises that would help them work their legs and get them ready for their upcoming seasons. 

However, not all athletes can rely on the same workout routine. There is a wide array of sports that take place throughout the school year, and each sport can influence what exercises a student athlete relies upon to help them prepare for the season. 

“Since I play baseball, I focus on trying to get stronger to help throw harder and hit the ball farther,” Jackson Wodraska, senior baseball player, said. “I also try to do cardio to try and stay in shape for running bases.” 

Instead of trying to practice touches on the ball like Brown, Wodraska does a variety of weight lifting, along with some cardio work. 

Athletes also conducted a change in their diets to stay healthy, though not all athletes needed to change their diet. Cristian Orth, a senior varsity football player for Jupiter, didn’t find a need to change much of his diet. 

Over the summer, Orth “organized team workouts for the football and basketball at the beach 6 days a week at 6 a.m.,” and also organized times to do field workouts and weight lifting to help prepare for football season.

“I didn’t have to really change much in my diet,” Orth said. “We were able to have an opportunity to work out 3-4 times per day so we could still eat whatever we wanted.” 

Student athletes did face some challenges when it came to staying fit. One of these issues that athletes faced was finding the motivation to exercise. “It’s so easy just to lay around than find the motivation to workout, which is what I struggled with, finding that motivation,” Brown said. 

When COVID-19 closed gyms in Jupiter, it was a challenge for athletes to find a place with proper equipment to stay fit.

“I struggled maintaining a constant schedule while the gyms and fields and everything was closed,” Wodraska said. “Once things like the gym started opening back up, I was always doing something in the gym, or going to hit and throw with friends and teammates.”

Orth also faced the same difficulties when it came to finding places to workout. “I faced challenges getting kicked off the fields for having too many people, which to me was a good thing.” Even though Orth had problems finding places to train, in the end he and his friends “were able to overcome those challenges as a team.”

When asked about whether or not they were prepared for the start of the season, the students all seemed more than ready to begin playing again.  “I feel more prepared for this season than ever,” said Orth. “The work I’ve put in with my teammates has us fully confident that we’ll be ready on Friday nights. Being able to work on different things every day to improve was huge for us.”