The Quadrangle

The Student Newspaper of Manhattan College | Since 1924

Winter Break: The Calm Before the Storm of Spring Sports Seasons

Thomas Hitchins of men’s soccer, Matt Padre of Manhattan baseball, and Kai Riner of Manhattan volleyball are among many student-athletes hoping to compete in their respective sports if the MAAC decides to hold athletic competition despite the ongoing threat of the coronavirus pandemic. The start of the spring semester is scheduled for Jan. 27, giving Manhattan student-athletes a long stretch of time to both improve their skills and stay in shape for a potential spring season. Hitchins, Padre and Riner shared with the Quadrangle a glimpse of how they plan on spending the holiday season. Interviews compiled by Colleen E. McNamara.

Thomas Hitchins, Men’s Soccer, Junior

TQ: How do you plan on staying in shape during the break?

TH: I plan to stay in shape during this extended break by following a workout plan provided to me by our coaching staff along with doing extra running and gym sessions. With the break being longer than usual, it will be good to mix up what I do to keep it from getting boring.

TQ: Do you have any special trips or activities planned during the break?

TH: I plan to visit my friends in North Carolina, which is where I used to live before my family moved to Tampa, Florida. Otherwise, I will be spending a lot of time with my family and my niece.

TQ: What are you looking forward to more, Thanksgiving or Christmas? 

TH: I am looking forward to both for different reasons. Thanksgiving is actually the day of my birthday this year so it’s like a double holiday but Christmas is when my whole family will be together because my twin sister will be home from Arizona. If I had to choose it would be Christmas because I haven’t seen my twin sister since July.

TQ: Do you view this long stretch of time ahead as a chance to get better and be more prepared for a potential season in the spring?

TH: This extended break definitely gives me the chance to be more prepared for a potential spring season. I have a lot of time to really prepare for training and games by really pushing my fitness levels like we have all fall during training. It will be tough to prepare for a season without being in our team environment but I think all the guys will come back ready to compete in the Spring.

TQ: How will your training differ this winter break than in the past? 

TH: My training will differ this winter as it will all be more individual as in the past I have been able to train with old teammates and have more realistic soccer based training. This of course is a challenge but I think during a time like this, we have to do the best we can to stay healthy so we can come back ready to win a MAAC Championship.

Matt Padre, Baseball, Senior

TQ: How do you plan on staying in shape during the break? 

MP: For this long break, I plan on getting back into shape. For me this fall I took a couple of steps backwards due to a couple of injuries. I strained my right lat and sprained my ankle. I am going to get after this winter as it is vital for me to play catch up over the winter. I want to continue to be a key contributor to my team. This semester I felt like I not only let myself down but my teammates as well. The other guys, especially my fellow catchers, Nick Cimillo and Jake Radziewicz really had to carry my load this fall. I want that to change and luckily for me, I have a home gym at my house with a full squat rack, bench press, treadmill, etc. I am excited to get back home, relax a little bit, but most importantly, getting myself better for the season. I really missed playing baseball this semester and it goes to show you that you don’t know how good something is until you don’t have it anymore.

TQ: Do you have any special trips or activities planned during the break?

MP: I am starting my relaxation off this break by taking a trip to the Dominican Republic with my fellow seniors on the team. While yes, this may seem irresponsible during a pandemic, we all have been tested before getting on the plane and we are going to get rapid tested the day before the flight to ensure we don’t spread it. Then finally, when we return we are going to quarantine ourselves in our off-campus apartments before heading home to our families. We understand the situation at hand, but at the same time, it is our senior year. I want to be able to find that delicate balance between enjoying our time in our last year, but at the same time taking the precautions necessary to keep not only ourselves safe but also those around us.

TQ: What are you looking forward to more, Thanksgiving or Christmas? 

MP: I personally am more of a Christmas man. I love everything about Christmas: the music, the food, the atmosphere, the family time. Everything about it is just a different buzz. There is a different kind of energy in the air and who doesn’t love the giving and receiving presents. Seriously nothing is better than giving a surprise gift that just makes the other person smile ear to ear, then giving the ol MJ shrug like yeah, I thought of that gift. In all seriousness though, it’s just so much fun to spend time with family and really enjoy each other as work and school is on a pause. Plus it’s fun to reflect on the year as a whole and get ready to turn the page to the new year and especially turn the page on 2020.

TQ: Do you view this long stretch of time ahead as a chance to get better and be more prepared for a potential season in the spring?

MP: This extended break is nice but also scary at the same time. Our team is talented on paper, but like coach Cole says all the time, paper doesn’t win baseball games. This long break really is what you make of it. Like I explained in question 1, I have a lot of work to do. So for me personally, I view this break as a plus. At school, I am involved with more than just athletics, so I am constantly running around campus, and going home gives me time to relax. But it also gives me the freedom to work out at my own pace and schedule. With the in-person classes and hard practice slots while on campus, it was hard for me to get to practice certain days. So this extended break really allows me to really lock in on what matters and that is getting healthy and stronger physically and at the same time, finishing my semester strong.

Kai Riner, Volleyball, Senior

TQ: How do you plan on staying in shape during the break?

KR: During this break, I plan on staying in shape by doing some workouts at home, running, and getting some time in playing volleyball when it’s safe. Even though gyms are open, I don’t like to put myself or my family at risk but running and at-home workouts work for me.

TQ: Do you have any special trips or activities planned during the break?

KR: I don’t have any special trips planned, but I love doing anything outdoors with my family. We like to hike and go camping and so I’m really excited to spend more time with my family and my 2-year-old niece.

TQ: What are you looking forward to more, Thanksgiving or Christmas? 

KR: I am looking forward to Thanksgiving more because I love when my family can come together and just eat all of my favorite foods. I was born on Black Friday and my birthday falls on it again this year, so Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday.

TQ: Do you view this long stretch of time ahead as a chance to get better and be more prepared for a potential season in the spring?

KR: Just like the long break before the fall semester, I think these two months give us all a chance to get better every day. Every team is in the same position so if we take this chance and try to get the most out of it, I think we can be successful in the spring.

TQ: How will your training differ this winter break than in the past? 

KR: My training will probably look very similar to the summer, just because COVID-19 is still affecting our communities so greatly. But, instead of past years where I spend as much time playing volleyball as possible, I will instead try to work on my endurance and maintaining strength from this fall.

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