A group photo of the English Equestrian Team from last year.

Like many other organizations at West Virginia University, club sports have started out this semester with changes due to COVID-19.

John Sabol, president of the WVU hockey club, says playing hockey is one of the only things many of the members look forward to at WVU.

“A lot of kids we have, the only reason they’re at the school is because we went out and got them to play hockey and recruited them,” Sabol said.

According to Dana Harris, captain of the WVU English equestrian club, members are still having weekly practices.

“Every week, everybody on the team who is lessoning needs to get tested, and I receive a list of who went to sign up for a test and who got tested,” Harris said.

Harris also said the team is required to send their daily wellness checks to ensure they are not coming to practice unwell.

According to Sabol, as a precaution during tryouts, they have split their members into multiple groups for practices.

“With our continuous COVID testing, with under a week you should know whether you got it from that person or not,” Sabol said. “We can take out like a third or a quarter of the club for a week instead of shutting down the whole thing.”

According to Harris and Sabol, both the hockey and English equestrian clubs are not able to compete in in-person events for the fall semester, but they are still hoping to compete for the spring semester.

Connecting to new members has also become an issue for club sports. According to Harris, bonding with new members has been much harder this semester.

“We haven’t gotten to really get to know any of the new members, and our team grew by about 20 people this year,” Harris said.

Despite the difficulties, Harris says they still have found ways to interact with one another besides their weekly Zoom calls.

“We are volunteering at Halloween With Horses, which is at Reedsville Farm, so that’s gonna be really nice,” Harris said. “We’ve opened that up for everyone if they wanted to volunteer.”

Both Harris and Sabol expressed hope to compete next semester, with both clubs practicing with their sights on a spring season.