The Championship is back on

Coaches respond to GNAC Championship’s return

Sabrina Jiles, Staff Reporter

Excitement is building among Seattle Pacific athletes and coaches with the news of a 2021 Great Northwest Athletic Conference track and field and rowing championship.

GNAC announced that there will be no spectators during the regular season of all athletics in the 2020-2021 season, as well as no spectators at the championships to protect athletes, coaches and staff from the spread of COVID-19.

The regatta is going to be smaller than years prior to protect teams. For SPU women’s rowing coach Caitlin McClain described a sense of relief at hearing the announcement about the championship.

“There’s a gratefulness and gratitude that the effort to put a championship together is happening because that is such a huge thing for our athletes,” McClain said.

SPU track coach Chris Reed was thankful and described how everyone in the GNAC worked together to make the championship happen. Reed described everyone working together to solve different issues placed with hosting a championship.

“We were thankful to see that announcement. We had a few calls that included the GNAC coaches and the conference office and we went over the challenges that we would need to overcome to make it happen. Most of them seemed achievable, so yes, I was pleased to see that that decision had been made,” Reed said.

SPU athletes lost the opportunity to compete during the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 outbreak.With the chance to compete this year, the athletes are eager to put their skills and training to the test.

“It means the world to them. We lost so much: lLast year’s indoor NCAA meet, the outdoor season and Championships, the cross country season and Championships, and then this year’s indoor season and Championships. It’s refreshing to have a season and a Championship to finally look forward to and I know the student-athletes are eager to take advantage of the opportunity,” Reed said.

With these continuous developments about the season and more opportunity to compete, the SPU spring athletic teams are preparing for the competition. McClain described that practice has not changed, but the reward has.

“Things have changed, but things are happening parallel to what we would be doing. Our annual training plan is set up so we’re doing technical work, more endurance based work and things like that. In some ways, I feel that it doesn’t change the training we have been doing but now it’s great to have something that we’re working towards,” McClain said.

The GNAC championship track meet will be held on May 14 and 15 at Western Oregon University. The rowing championship is to be held on May 15, however the location of the rowing meet has yet to be determined.

Even with the new COVID-19 regulations that will be at competitions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, it does not take away from the excitement of the events.

“I hope that we get to race. That people put their hard work to the test and see the fruits of their labor. Especially for our seniors and the members who decided to come back for an extra season, that they really get to put the ribbon on a long and successful career and have that closure for them,” McClain said.