As frigid temperatures infuriate students that walk to and from class, Spartan athletes must deal with the weather in a totally different way.
The temperature has scarcely been above 20 degrees this week. Add the wind chill and it gets even colder, yet another thing for members of both the wrestling and gymnastics teams to take into account.
Being indoor sports, they’re sheltered from the weather more, but there still are things that can go wrong.
“This is one of those times when you’re really glad you’re an indoor sport,” wrestling coach Tom Minkel said. “The good thing is that the wrestling room is pretty warm, and once you start warming up, your core temperature goes up pretty quick.”
With so many other things to tell his team on a daily basis, he said the reminder to bundle up outside isn’t really something that crosses his mind.
Sophomore 184-pounder John Rizqallah said the one thing the cold weather helps the wrestlers with is making weight.
“If anything, at night, the cold helps because you lose more weight when you sleep,” Rizqallah said. “Your body’s going to be burning more calories to stay warm.”
Gymnastics is a different story. It requires much more grace and elegance compared to the brute strength that goes into wrestling, a fact that makes the cold weather more hazardous for gymnasts.
“Truly it shouldn’t affect them if it’s at least warm enough in here,” gymnastics coach Kathie Klages said. “Yesterday it didn’t seem to affect anyone, but it can. If it is too cold then you’ve got the opportunity to pull muscles.”
Before each practice, part of their warm-up consists of running, and with the colder temperatures, Klages said she’s made them run longer.
Though it’s not something she thinks about often, she said it’s definitely in the back of her mind each day.
“You stretch out, but you’re not really stretched out,” Klages said. “An hour later when you go to balance beam and you do a leap, and all of a sudden you’re pulling a hamstring or a groin muscle. We’ll have to be careful.”
When the team got to the locker room, they were laughing about how many layers they were all taking off, especially those from warm places like Florida and California.
Freshmen Kate Filosi, a Connecticut native, said she has had to change things up a bit this week by layering up more both outside and in the gym.
“When it’s cold outside we warm up with a lot of our clothes on so it works up a sweat and it gets us really warm, so when we are just in our leotards we’re a little bit warmer than we are normally,” Filosi said. “You’ve got to do things in practice to keep warm. You can’t just be standing there or you’re going to get cold, and that really affects your gymnastics.”