Norwin athletes return to action after preaching positivity during shutdown

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Sunday, January 10, 2021 | 9:01 AM


Tried and true, some Norwin athletes were ready when Gov. Tom Wolf put high school sports on pause again for three weeks.

No practice? No problem.

That is because they had been through this before.

They endured a previous delay in the spring, training on their own and taking part in virtual meetings to stay ahead of a long-awaited start.

To their dismay, though, they were not able to cash in on their patience. The PIAA canceled the spring season completely amid the daunting covid-19 pandemic.

This time, though, things were different.

Wolf allowed winter sports to restart Jan. 4, giving teams a measure of hope moving into a new season.

Staying in sport shape again was the challenge athletes faced because they could not gather as teams for practices until the shutdown was lifted. A helpless feeling for some coaches, but athletes took the challenge and ran with it — literally.

It was not unusual for Norwin athletes to see one another running around local neighborhoods. The urge to high-five each other was strong, but they had to resist.

“I have seen some Norwin athletes working out in their driveways or going on runs throughout the community,” Norwin senior basketball player Nick Fleming said. “We are definitely ready, as a district, to get back in season.”

Fleming and the Knights have high hopes with most of their team returning. They were not able to open the season like some teams did, such as neighboring Penn-Trafford, before the mandated pause.

“My brother (Michael) and I have been doing some sprints, shooting in our driveway, dribbling and even been playing some 1-on-1,” said Fleming, a Mount Saint Mary’s baseball recruit. “Our trainers at FSQ Sports sent out a workout plan for us winter sport athletes. My brother and I definitely push each other competitively. We are anxious for the restart for sure.”

The PIAA required winter teams to have 10 practices before starting competition.

Norwin senior wrestler Tanner Babeo exited his sport last year to focus on football. But he is back on the mat this year and ready to compete again.

He said Norwin first-year wrestling coach Kyle Martin gave his team workout plans during the season pause.

Martin got crafty with tools in the past, and he is glad he did.

“I had built a wooden bench press, and I have some free weights at my house that I am using,” he said. “I had built the bench press last spring when the shutdowns had started. It is super important for the team and myself to continue to put in work so we can peak at the right time.

“We’re all doing the best we can.”

Girls basketball players at Norwin also were grinding behind the scenes to be ready for their opening game.

Senior guard Danielle Rosso has been doing cardio workouts and working on ball-handling drills in the basement of her home.

“The weather has also been decent, so I’ve been able to get some shots up in my driveway,” she said. “We were obviously very disappointed when we found out everything was getting shut down, but we all just tried to stay positive and encourage each other.

“We are so excited to get back on the court and start playing again.”

While many schools continue to use remote learning, athletics are moving forward with few or no fans at games and districts still are tip-toeing around the virus to protest the athletes.

“Our No. 1 priority is to maintain the safest environment possible for our student-athletes, coaches and families,” Norwin athletic director Mike Burrell said, “while providing our student-athletes the opportunity to compete.

“I think one of the biggest challenges we will face will be getting through another surge coming off the holidays. These next couple of weeks will be critical.”

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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