With spring just around the corner, UW-Superior’s athletes are preparing to head outside and compete the best they can during a season regulated by COVID-19.

Although this is Dante Bender’s fourth year playing baseball at UWS, it may just be his most unique year yet. “This year has been extra stressful due to the amount of regulations we have to follow and the overall uncertainty of whether or not we will be playing or practicing every day,” said Bender.

Right now, the team is tested three times a week and will face a pause in practices or games if someone tests positive. Positive tests are then checked a second time through a PCR test to ensure that the person is positive before beginning contact tracing. Throughout this process, the team is not able to participate in practices or games until they have finished contact tracing or guaranteed that the athlete is not positive for COVID-19.

“One of the biggest challenges I have witnessed is getting used to wearing a mask during practices and games. Although I don’t find it uncomfortable, when you are sweaty and tired the last thing you want to do is put on a mask. Our team understands that it’s the right thing to do in order to play as much as we can, but all of the social distancing regulations also make it hard to connect with teammates when we can only see each other at practices and games,” stated Bender.

The Yellowjackets will play against Concordia College (Minn.) on Thursday at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. Spectators will not be allowed.