Friday, April 4, 2008

Teams use spring break to excel

By Lindsay Dickson

While many Saint Mary’s University students spent their spring breaks basking in the sun, some athletic teams used the time off to train and compete.

“It’s different from a regular spring break because it’s a lot more work than play,” said freshman fastpitch softball player Kellie Simons. The softball, baseball and men’s and women’s tennis teams visited California, Florida and Texas, respectively.

“Our team takes trips over break so that we can play some of the best teams in the country to help us get better and more prepared for our conference games. A lot of the teams in the tournament we played in are ranked in the top 25 teams in the country,” said Simons. “[The trip] showed us what we need to work on in order to make it to the [Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference] tournament and hopefully beyond that.”

Since spring break falls in the middle of the women’s tennis season, sophomore Abby Cooper said that it is a good time to go on a trip. “It is nice to go somewhere warm and play outside after we have been hitting inside all season,” said Cooper. The mid-season trip also provides a chance to bond with other teammates. “We spend so much time together, on and off the court, that you really get to know the people you’re playing with,” Cooper said.

Simons explained that their trip consisted mainly of playing softball, eating and sleeping. She said Coach Jen Miller would tell the team, “We came to play softball!” Even though their week was filled with training, they were allowed one day off to spend at their leisure. Throughout the day, the team shopped in Los Angeles and was part of the live audience for the TV game show “The Price is Right.”

It is common for SMU athletic teams to take trips to train and to bond with the team. Last year, the women’s tennis team visited Hilton Head, S.C., and the team will be flying to England this May. The trips are funded by the school and the teams’ budgets, but players usually have to pay for some of the costs, said Cooper.

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