This remote Winter Term marks the introduction to Lawrenceville’s first virtual athletic program offerings and co-curriculars.

This remote Winter Term marks the introduction to Lawrenceville’s first virtual athletic program offerings and co-curriculars.Despite the challenges, faculty and students alike have managed to restructure their workout habits to adapt to these changes in various ways.

Students currently meet with their respective co-curricular sports on Tuesdays and Fridays over virtual Zoom meetings. While practice agendas differ according to each sport, most sports offer asynchronous and synchronous options to accommodate the multiple time zones students live in.

General Fitness Coach Tony Rienzo’s synchronous meetings begin with a “general check-in or question-answer session to make sure everyone’s on the same page for the program.” According to Rienzo, “The group then does a group stretch, a body weight workout, or even just a discussion about nutrition and health.” For the asynchronous sessions, students are required to log a minimum of two workouts per week on TeamBuildr, a tracker app with a dedicated workout plan for Lawrentians.

Rienzo claimed that there have been minimal changes to the workout culture during remote winter, saying, “Whether we’re on campus or virtual, we’re always modifying workouts anyway because people always have different goals or injuries. Now, we just have to get a little more creative.”

“In a sense the athletic experience is more personalized this year,” he said. “One student may have very limited space and no exercise equipment whatsoever and another might have access to a gym. We have a lot of different workout options available for students, and we’ve been able to create a specific workout plan for each athlete.”

While his coaching style has not changed much, Rienzo faces certain challenges virtually training over 120 out of the 160 students in General Fitness. “I’ll be toggling between five different pages of little thumbnails…so it’s virtually impossible to check on form to see if everyone is doing the workout correctly. Also, with so many kids, not everyone is going to be able to speak during discussions.”

Even though the new athletics format has been uncharted territory for everyone in the Lawrenceville community, Athletic Director Tripp Welborne H’58 P’21 hopes that athletes and coaches will still be able to stay engaged this virtual winter. While the circumstances aren’t favorable, he emphasized how “one of the big things about athletics is adaptability, and it’s important to be able to adapt to the circumstance and make the best out of what you have.”

Welborne also acknowledged the difficulties he anticipates for the term, including staying motivated while stuck inside. However, he also reminded athletes to continue to work hard. “You get out of it what you put into it,” he said. Welborne noted some positives of the situation, especially how the virtual term “give[s] athletes a chance to recharge...and also work on their individual skills without falling behind in other areas.” For now, he remains hopeful for an in-person return this spring.

Since adaptability has been very important this year, many athletes have been looking for opportunities to grow and work on themselves, even if they have to start creating their own workout plans or diets. A member of Lawrenceville’s Varsity Indoor and Outdoor Track Teams, Manoc Joa-Griffith ’22 acknowledged some of the disadvantages of the term. “While track may seem individualistic, many people don’t realize how much being a part of a team means during the season,” he said, “A big part of it is working as a team and growing as a team, and I’ll really miss competing and racing alongside [my teammates].”

While virtual athletics can be challenging, Joa-Griffith still looks forward to putting his best foot forward: “I’ve really been able to analyze and focus on what I can do better and reflect on areas where I can grow, something I’ve never really had the time to do before.”

Looking forward to the remainder of the Winter Term, Rienzo’s ultimate goal is “to hold everyone accountable and give everyone the opportunity to get something done while at home.” “Coaching over a screen is something I never thought I would do. In the end, winter sports are just a matter of trying to engage everyone, being attentive, and making sure everyone is performing what they should be doing,” he said.

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