Megan O'Dell was hired in February to coach the Olentangy Berlin boys volleyball team and had less than two weeks of practice before everything came to a grinding halt.

The OHSAA announced March 13 a mandatory "no-contact period" for all school-sponsored sports that would begin March 17 and run through Sunday, April 5, because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

O'Dell planned to give her athletes workouts that they could do at home to keep in shape during the layoff, but junior Drew Granger was one step ahead of her.

"Drew posted some workouts on our team website and that helped out a lot," O'Dell said. "Just because we can't practice as a team doesn't mean we can't work out at home."

Granger, a 6-foot-1 right-side hitter, said staying in shape will be key to the program should the season resume. The earliest spring sports could begin under the OHSAA's initial ruling is April 11, following a five-day acclimation period.

Update: Gov. Mike DeWine announced March 30 that schools will remain closed through May 1.

"At first, I was going to try to get the guys together and play at Hoff (Woods) Park (in Westerville), but that's hard now because we're on a little bit of a lockdown," Granger said. "That changed things. Since we don't have lifting, I have been doing a lot of things like push-ups and sit-ups. We have a basketball hoop in our driveway, so I set it up as high as it can go and try to touch the rim. Progressively, I'm getting there. Also, I've been watching other people play on YouTube to get a sense of how they are doing it."

Junior Kelsey Schuliger of the Olentangy girls track and field team believes athletes in her sport, especially runners, have a leg up on home training.

"I think it's a lot easier for track athletes to keep in shape because other sports are more one-on-one and team-oriented," said Schuliger, who competes in the 400 meters, high jump and long jump. "With track, it's more on you how you work and compete. A lot of this right now is similar to winter conditioning. I'm trying to find new streets where I can run. I go to Orange Middle School and run on the track just to get my work in."

Schuliger doesn't want to think about the prospects of losing her junior season because of the impact it would have on college recruitment. On March 26, the OHSAA canceled the remaining winter postseason tournaments for boys basketball, girls basketball, hockey and wrestling.

"It's really scary," she said. "Junior year is when you're really starting to look to college, wondering whether you might go Division I or Division II. (Without a junior season,) you don't have any new (personal records) on the table to show college coaches."

Senior pitcher Zane Lattig of the Orange baseball team has been keeping busy, trying to stay in shape if and when the season resumes.

"I have been constantly working (out)," said Lattig, a University of Charleston commit and son of Orange assistant and former Liberty coach Matt Lattig. "I have been throwing weighted plastic balls with sand in them and doing J-Bands to stretch my arm muscles. I have been hitting into pop-up nets and doing tee work. I've been keeping busy.

"I'm finding things around the house to lift and I have been doing that four days a week and also two days of conditioning. That's mainly running and explosive things like jumping to keep those quick-trigger muscles in shape. I'm staying active so I can be prepared physically for when we go back."

Senior outfielder A.J. Rausch of the Liberty baseball team also is keeping busy in order to prepare for the possibility of returning to the diamond this spring.

"Some of the things I'm doing during this break is to eat right and to try to work out as much as I can," said Rausch, an Ohio University commit. "I did a yoga class on YouTube. (Our coaches) gave the team a workout plan to follow and I've been trying to do that as much as possible. When I can, I'm trying to get as many game-like reps as possible, whether it's hitting live from someone or taking ground balls at full speed."

Berlin softball coach Jenna Haskins has tried to keep her players engaged digitally during the layoff.

"I gave them some things that they could do individually such as swinging, throwing against the wall and some glove work," Haskins said. "We started an online Flipgrid account where they can post videos of themselves working out and their teammates can reply to the videos. It's just a cool way for them to stay connected.

"We also had a Zoom conference call just so they can stay in touch with each other. I also gave them podcasts to listen to and gave them some old college games that they can watch on YouTube. We aren't just thinking about practice skills, but also the mental part as well."

Senior attacker Paige Haughn of the Liberty girls lacrosse team is trying to keep that positive mental state while separated from her teammates.

"While being stuck at home with both gyms and with my personal training being closed during this time, I've been utilizing my treadmill, workout materials and (lacrosse practice equipment) more than ever," Haughn said. "I'm trying to stay positive that I'll get my season back and I'm putting in the work as if I'm training for the season to start again. I've been trying my best to run and do a full-body workout circuit every day while also taking care of my body, eating healthy and icing if I feel pain.

"If the season gets canceled, I don't know what I would do or how I'd feel. I know I'd be mad or maybe disappointed. I looked forward to my senior season for all the 12 years I've played. Who would have possibly thought that a disease going around could impact so many of us seniors' lives and would take away part of a year that is supposed to be memorable?"

Orange boys tennis coach Matt Rutherford knows workouts are difficult because of the suggested social distancing, so he has suggested non-tennis activities in order for his athletes to be ready if and when the season resumes.

"My suggestion is that because tennis requires more than one person, they can do non-tennis specific workouts so they won't experience atrophy," Rutherford said. "We would like them to be toned and ready when they come back.

"(As for canceling spring sports,) I hate to go there. I hate to think about it, but you can't help it. I would think that the OHSAA -- even though they make the decision themselves -- would follow the lead of Gov. DeWine and make decisions based on that. They will make decisions in the best interest of everyone."

Aidan Moore, a senior attacker for the Olentangy boys lacrosse team, is staying in shape with workouts based on things lying around his house. The Otterbein commit is lifting "weights" by filling buckets with water or rocks and he has made an agility course with taped markers on the garage floor.

Still, the thought of missing out on his senior season is always on his mind.

"The uncertainty is very uncomfortable," Moore said. "The day will come. I'm optimistic. I just hope we do play. No matter what, I know I'll play again (at Otterbein). Even if I'm ultimately not preparing for this season, I am working ahead for the future and just trying to get better in general."

ThisWeek reporters Dave Purpura and Jarrod Ulrey contributed to this story.

shennen@thisweeknews.com

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