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88 Counties: Athletes at Clark County's Wittenberg University adapting to COVID-19 changes

Student-athletes grapple with a canceled season, new way of life amid the coronavirus pandemic.

CLARK COUNTY, Ohio — Colleges and universities across the country continue to face pressures of protecting students, faculty and staff from the coronavirus.

For Wittenberg University, it comes with another challenge of testing student-athletes after every competition. However, according to Wittenberg's Vice President and Director of Athletics Gary Williams, there is a testing balance between Wittenberg and Clark County.

"This community of Clark County and Springfield only has so many tests and they're only so available," Williams said. "The last thing we want to do, from a social responsibility perspective, is take tests away from people who really need them."

Even with testing, it wasn't enough to save Jasmine Evans' soccer season.

"Even though I knew coming into this year, it wasn't going to be ideal. I was still super-excited to be back on campus," Evans said. "The entire summer, everything was changing on a daily, even hourly basis sometimes. And then we got the call, no season. It was gut-wrenching. It was hard to hear. This was going to be our year."

With school back in session, student-athletes are trying to remain optimistic.

"When COVID hit, even on campus, it just had a different feel with the emptiness," football player David Span said. "It's like an eerie feeling though with everybody coming back. It's just bringing that excitement back in the community, back to life."

Williams encourages athletes to learn from this experience.

"To learn how to fight through and persevere and to realize that we can come together as a community. We will have people that will remember this for their lifetime," Williams said.

As of Oct. 9, 2020, Wittenberg has reported a total of 180 positive coronavirus cases.