AU basketball teams optimistic for seasons despite COVID-19


AU Athletics

Senior wing Aaron Thompson stands off against the Saginaw Valley Cardinals.


As the referee gets ready to throw up the first tip at Kates Gymnasium, the usual loud cheers and chants of “AU” seem like a memory to the players. On the court, the only noises that are audible are the squeaks of the shoes and the dribble of the ball with the occasional sideline tip from the head coach.

Ashland Basketball is underway for the Spring 2021 season, but unlike previous seasons, this one is very different. With Coronavirus concerns looming around every corner, there has been emphasis for the players on wearing masks and being smart about the situation on and off the court.

Sophomore forward, Annie Roshak, of the women’s basketball team stated that Covid-19 has had a huge impact on the season thus far.

“Covid has caused our season to look a little different this year. We are playing the same team back to back days, getting tested multiple times a week and just being extra cautious about what we do and where we go,” Roshak said. “Obviously we don’t want to get Covid for the health reasons, but if anyone were to get it it would also shut us down for 2 weeks, so we’ve all been really diligent about being smart in that regard.”

With no fans in attendance, the players have had to adjust to a different atmosphere, even when playing in big games.

“It has been so different playing without fans,” Roshak said. “Truthfully, we are used to having Kate’s rocking on game day.”

Not only has Covid-19 affected the attendance of fans, but it has also disrupted the start to the basketball season as both teams did not know if they were even going to be able to play.

“The first semester was a huge challenge.,” head coach of men’s basketball John Ellenwood said. “We were practicing in October not knowing if we were going to play at all. November and December were tough months with positive tests, which led to little practice.”

This in turn has led to preparation issues that normally were not a problem in previous seasons.

“Covid has affected our conditioning and our time to evaluate different lineups,” Ellenwood said. “Plus, with all the two week breaks due to positive tests, it has been difficult to monitor what works and what adjustments need to be made with our personnel.”

When asked about being successful in the GLIAC this season, Ellenwood stated that the most important thing is to stay healthy.

“This league is such a gauntlet. First, we need to stay healthy. Next, win some road games and dominate our home court. Easier said than done with the GLIAC competition…everyone is capable of beating anyone on any given day,” he said.

Even with a tough season ahead with many hoops to jump through, the team’s goals and intentions are just like any other season.

“Our mission statement remains the same as always: to be the best division two women’s basketball team in the country and make a positive impact on all who cross our path,” Roshak said. “We continue to work day in and day out to achieve these goals and continue to make adjustments as needed.”

Being a young leader on an experienced team, Roshak was able to give insight on how she has handled the season and continued to push through.

“Learning to take adversity head on has been a big point that I think our team has focused on this year,” Roshak said. “Through every season there’s going to be ups and downs and so we need to be able to ride those waves out. We’ve also talked a lot about doing the details and being very intentional in every action we take whether that is on or off the court.”

To stay updated with how each team is doing, visit or listen to the radio coverage of the games on 88.9 FM WRDL.