What Happens When Athletes are Quarantined? 

Ilana Zeilinger

Daily life for student-athletes at Bates normally consists of regularly scheduled physical-activity and socialization with their teammates and coaches; however, all of that is jeopardized when student-athletes are quarantined. 

When multiple first-year members of both the women’s and men’s cross country teams were told they needed to quarantine for 14 days, just days after arriving on campus, their short-lived “college-experience” was drastically altered. 

All student-athletes who were interviewed expressed initial confusion with the rules around physical activity at the beginning of the quarantine process. “During the first few days in quarantine, the college was still figuring out whether it would be safe or not for us to exercise alone outside,” said Ned Farrington ’24, who quarantined with his roommate and fellow teammate Sam Kartsonis ‘24

For students who are used to constantly moving, being confined to a first-year dorm room that is most likely no larger than 210 square feet is enough to drive them stir crazy. “It’s basically a miracle we didn’t destroy the room during that period of time,” said Kartsonis.

A first-year on the women’s team who did not wish to be named echoed his restlessness, saying, “Going to the bathroom to shower was my exciting expedition for the day.” 

In order to maintain fitness, the runners had to get creative within their rooms. “For the first few days when I was not allowed to run, I did a lot of core workouts and then some cardio workouts like burpees, jump squats, high knees,” said Farrington. The member of the women’s team said she luckily brought a few weights and resistance bands to college which helped get her body moving while confined to her dorm room. 

Based on how limited their contact with the student who tested positive was, the administration eventually determined that the student-athletes were allowed to exercise outside as long as they were alone and wearing a mask. Once they were allowed to leave their room, Kartsonis and Farrington spent a lot of time outside. “We would really milk the time that we were allowed outside for as much as it was worth,” said Kartsonis. 

When asked if quarantine impacted their fitness, Farrington commented that “once [he] was allowed to run, [he] continued with [his] normal schedule and was able to maintain [his] fitness.” 

“If anything, with the exception of the first couple days, when we weren’t allowed to leave the room, we had a lot more time to think and honestly even over-analyze our training,” said Kartsonis. “I think we came out of it more involved with cross country, because that was one of the few things that we could actually do.” 

All athletes agreed that quarantine did not negatively impact their training. Kartsonis said that because he was quarantined at the very beginning of the module, his light workload paired with the absence of any social activities gave him much more time to do all the extra activities that he wouldn’t regularly do like core exercises and hip-strengthening. 

Despite their ability to easily navigate the physical aspect of quarantine, some mentioned that the experience caused them to feel a little alienated from their teams. “I did feel a little isolated from the team because I arrived on campus and didn’t get the chance to meet everyone before being quarantined,” said the member of the women’s team. Kartsonis mentioned that he only felt disconnected from the other first-years on the team who all got to know each other pretty well during the first few weeks while he was quarantined. 

However, the isolation didn’t have a long-lasting impact, “the effects of it are getting more and more mitigated as we get farther away from the event,” noted Kartsonis. “It is what it is. It’s in the past now. It sucked, but at this point, I don’t feel any effects from it.”

All athletes cited both head men’s cross country coach Albert “Fresh” Fereshetian, head women’s cross country coach Jennifer “Jay” Hartshorn, as well as their teammates, as being remarkably helpful while they were quarantined. “Both Coach Jay and Coach Fresh were really huge,” said Kartsonis. “Coach Jay isn’t even the men’s coach and she still took a really active role in helping us out. She got us yoga mats when we needed them, and she really advocated to get us periods of outside time.” 

“Coach Jay was awesome,” said the member of the women’s team. “She called us every single day…that was honestly the best part of every day.” 

The coaches were also helpful intermediaries for Kartsonis and Farrington, who were pretty frustrated when they first got sent into quarantine: “There was no element of our wrongdoing that led to quarantine,” noted Kartsonis. “There was an overarching feeling that we were being punished, so having people like Coach Fresh and Coach Jay, who could speak to our character, was huge. Being able to have people that actually know us, and know that we didn’t do anything wrong was pretty huge because at times some of the lines got blurred between a precautionary quarantine and us being punished for something we had no control over.”

Coach Fresh helped Kartsonis and Farrington talk to the right people in order to express their confusion and frustration about being quarantined. “He was super helpful in being a liaison to the faculty and administration,” noted Kartsonis. “You’re a first-year, so you don’t have those connections in place, especially during the first two weeks. So our coaching staff was our line to the top. It was the way we could get our foot in the door for certain conversations and get in contact with deans to help our situation as much as possible.” 

Farrington also praised his teammates for their support saying, “My team did a great job making sure we were taken care of. They offered to get us food or anything we needed.” 

When asked about reintegrating with their team after being released from quarantine, they all expressed relief and excitement. “I felt very supported by my teammates, “ said Farrington. “They all sympathized with me and did a great job reintegrating us into the team dynamic.” Farrington also noted that because he was allowed to run during quarantine he had a smooth transition back to training. 

“I was super excited to be more of a part of the team,” said the member of the women’s team. “I didn’t feel like I was out of shape or anything because we were allowed to run. I was just really excited to be around the team.”