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Millsaps Athletes Discuss Their Careers, Team Memories, and Training Amid the Pandemic

For many people, there is a hobby or activity they enjoy growing up. Some people enjoy activities like playing videogames, drawing, fishing, however many, like Millsaps athletes, enjoy playing sports.

Bre Reed, a sophomore volleyball player, started playing volleyball back in middle school.

“I started playing right before I got into 6th grade. My mom has this rule for all of my siblings that you just have to pick a sport and play it. It doesn’t matter what sport, but you have to play one. And I chose volleyball,” said Bre.

There is always a point in an athlete’s life where they decide to further their sports career. For Bre, sports were a large part of her childhood, and she wanted to continue incorporating sports in her life.

“I was always that kid who played 1000 sports when I was growing up throughout elementary school. I was in anything my mom could find, and this is my first time only playing one sport. My mom could tell that I was just kind of getting into it, so my mom decided to take me to an LSU game, and it was just a revelation for me! I saw the game, and I was like ‘that is what I want to do for the next eight years of my life,’” Bre said.

Many athletes say that there is nothing that compares to being on a team in college. Team memories never go forgotten by the athletes who make them.
“We went to the University of Dallas tournament during preseason, and just being able to play that many games, come out and win the whole thing and have the team rally. We had a lot of games that were really close and it was point on point on point on point, and they would last two and a half to three hours, and just to have the team put our minds to it… that was really great, “said Bre.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has changed almost every aspect of life, Bre has still been able to train.

“My training is a lot different because of the pandemic. Usually I would just get with my old high school friends, and we would go play doubles or go play sand, or we would just go to the gym together. But because of the pandemic, I haven’t been able to get into the gym. They’re only letting certain people in the gyms. I have had to do a lot more strength and conditioning than I am normally used to. Which I was not all that excited for. It was a lot different than anything I had to prepare myself for. But now that I am almost through it, I am in much better shape than if I had just stuck to volleyball. I mean, of course I wish I got out on the court some more, but you make do with what you got,” said Bre.

Sarah Hayek, a junior on the women’s tennis team, is another athlete who had a young introduction to sports.

“I started hitting when I was five but didn’t start playing competitively until I was about ten. My older sister played and basically everything that she did, I would do. I had some cousins who played too so it was kind of a family thing,” said Sarah.

Like many athletes, Sarah appreciates the team atmosphere many sports encompass.
“I went to a small high school, and there were only a handful of athletes who played every sport. So, I did cheer, cross-country, soccer, and tennis. Tennis was always my favorite and I invested the most time into it, I would say. What really made me want to play it in college was that I thought it was incredible how a sport that was so individualized became such a team and group effort in college.”

During her freshman year, Sarah’s favorite team memory came early in her college tennis career.

“My favorite team memory was freshman year. We played Austin College, and the whole team traveled. At the time there were six freshmen, and we had a large group of girls. Austin College was not really the nicest team, to put it nicely. We were down after doubles, and then we started down in our singles matches. I don’t know what happened, but something clicked with the team. All the girls watching- I mean there were so many of us because we had a big team at that point- everybody started cheering and going crazy. We pulled out all the singles matches, and the team ended up winning. It was really exciting to see the impact our teammates had on and off the court,” said Sarah.

Like Bre, Sarah has also been able to continue training despite the pandemic.

“What is great about tennis is it is a non-contact sport. So, I was able to stay far enough away from my opponent or coach to keep social distancing. I was still able to get out to run and do other fitness”, said Sarah.

Worth Wade, a sophomore who runs track. Similar to Bre and Sarah, Worth also started his sports career at a young age.

“I probably started running competitively when I was seven years old. I was doing AAU track by the time I was in the fourth grade, so I got to go to nationals and Junior Olympics. Then I started running track in middle school to high school, and now in college” said Worth.

Daily practice often holds athletes accountable. Many athletes find that their sport helps them keep a routine. Worth chose to pursue running in college for this reason.

“In high school and middle school, it was the thing that held me accountable, and I knew it would be the same way for college. The workload is pretty heavy in college. So, track helps me keep a routine during the week,” says Worth.

Not all team memories are made on the court or field, some athletes find their most cherished memories on a team trip. Worth made many cherished memories on his team trip to the Okatoma River.

“Last year we got to go to the Okatoma River and do a float trip before the season started. We stayed there, and it was a really good time. It was a great way for the team to get to know each other. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to do it this year because of Coronavirus,” Worth said.

Like other athletes, Worth has continued his training through the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The good thing about running is you don’t need anything at all! That’s the beauty of running. It is a very low maintenance sport. You can spend all the money you want on all the bells and whistles, but at the end of the day… You can just put a pair of shoes on and go get it!”