Athletes stay in town over winter break for practice, competition


Art by Yasmeen El-Jayyousi

Harsh Singh

Art by Yasmeen El-Jayyousi
Art by Yasmeen El-Jayyousi
Unlike last year, winter break at RBHS will be two weeks instead of a week and a half. Michelle Baumstark, CPS community relations director, said winter break is longer this year because of a different calendar cycle compared to last year.
The extra seven days off will give students more days to rest, spend time with their families and travel out of Columbia. Freshman Keerthivaas Premkumar will go to New York for ten days to celebrate the holidays. He said he is excited because it gives him time to explore a new city and spend time with his family. Even though Premkumar has been to New York before, he still believes it is a great city for family bonding.
“New York is like the perfect city to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s Day because the whole city is filled with a holiday vibe,” Premkumar said. “My dad works in Pennsylvania, so I rarely see him and this time will give me the opportunity to have a good time with the whole family.”
While Premkumar will enjoy his days in New York, athletes in winter sports will have a lot less freedom over their breaks. Jackson Dubinski, a member of the Bruins varsity basketball team, has to stay in Columbia over the holidays to attend basketball practices. Dubinski believes these practices are important because he says the time on the court will keep the team focused for the upcoming games, like the shootout against Lafayette High School which will be on the day students come back from their vacations.
“We’ll be in the gym a lot so I won’t be leaving the city but honestly for me, it’s never been a problem,” Dubinski said. “I love playing and wouldn’t want to ever miss out on that opportunity.”
Just like the athletes, these coaches also have to make certain compromises to train their teams during winter break. Jill Nagel, head coach for the girls basketball team, said even with practices going on during winter break, the team will also get sufficient rest. Nagel also said she isn’t making any compromises for these practices because they will prepare the team for another run at the state championship. She said the practices will help the team learn more about each other.
“We want to provide days off around the holidays for our players to be with their families as much as possible but yet need to put in the appropriate [amount] of work to stay sharp with our execution on the basketball court,” Nagel said.
Senior Chayla Cheadle, varsity basketball player, usually goes to Kansas City during the holidays. Cheadle said basketball practice won’t stop her and the family from going to Kansas City because as soon as practice is over, they will hit the road. As for the practices, Cheadle said they will have a positive impact on the team.
“I don’t get mad about [the practices],” Cheadle said. “I know when we aren’t in the gym some other team is, and I want to be the best in state.”
Staying in Columbia during winter break allows athletes to hang out with their friends and rest at home. Junior Petar Marinov, a member of the wrestling team, said he will still be able to spend time with family and friends while also going to wrestling practices. Marinov said the wrestling team is like a family so he won’t mind practicing with them during the break.
“I was rather unhappy at first, but then I realized that it will be nice staying in Columbia because it will be relaxing staying at home around Christmas,” Marinov said. “The trade off for the practices is doing better when competing. This is my first season, so I need all the practice I can get.”
Similar to Dubinski, Marinov said if the team wishes to beat the best schools in the state, they have to practice in order to get better. He said winter break should not be an excuse for not practicing and the team needs to be together during breaks to not only get better, but also to bond.
“Every practice counts and not practicing for an extended period of time can be detrimental to one’s performance when they return,” Marinov said. “Our team this year has a lot of potential, but we will need to practice and practice to be our best.”
By Harsh Singh