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Sports and recreation

How Postponing Mountain West Sports Is Impacting Nevada Athletes

A football player playing defense on the field.
Photo Courtesy of Lawson Hall
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Hall is a critical leader on the team, and outside of football, he excels in the classroom. He's a graduate of the University of Nevada, Reno with a Bachelor of Science and is working on his master’s in business administration.";

The COVID-19 pandemic abruptly stopped spring sports earlier this year, and now, the Mountain West has announced it is postponing all fall sports. It's unclear if and when they will resume. KUNR’s Stephanie Serrano spoke to Lawson Hall, an inside linebacker for the Wolf Pack, whose senior season is on the line.

Stephanie Serrano: The Mountain West made its decision to postpone fall sports five days after announcing that they were going to delay the season. Did that come as a surprise? How did you feel when you heard the news?

Lawson Hall: It was a big surprise to me and to my teammates, especially [for] me being a senior. I was pretty upset hearing that, because we were trending in the right direction, in terms of being able to play this season. This kind of came out of nowhere. I feel like they should have come to this decision, and if this was the case, they shouldn't have told us that we were going to have a modified schedule this year. It was just poor communication. We were doing everything we could, everything we could control, and we were pretty optimistic that we were going to be able to play at the end of September.

Serrano: Can we talk about how you guys were prepping going into the season? I know COVID-19 has been a big barrier. Can we talk about what practices were looking like? How hard you guys were working to get back onto the field?

Hall: We split up practice into two different practices: the first practice was about half the guys, and the second practice was the other half. We did fall camp-style practice, and we had meetings on Zoom. We would get tested weekly every Wednesday or Thursday, and we would get the results back in a couple of days. So we were on top of things. When we got into the facility, we checked-in, they checked our temperatures, they asked if we had any symptoms. If we had any symptoms, we weren't allowed in the building. So they were doing a pretty good job at limiting our exposure to the virus.

Serrano: You mentioned that this is your senior season.

Hall: Everything I've done in my college career has led up to this point. I've always waited for this point, to be a senior, and end with a bang. I was really looking forward to that, and I was working hard to do that. It hurt hearing that news, but I am kind of optimistic. They just came out with a ruling that the seniors could possibly get their year back, so that's exciting.

Serrano: How did your family and friends react?

Hall: They felt for me. They felt bad for me. They knew how bad I wanted to play this year, how hard I've been working and how much I was looking forward to it. My mom gave me some words of encouragement.

Serrano: What were those words of encouragement?

Hall: She was just telling me to look at the bright side and how this could be a blessing in disguise. This could give us more time to perfect our craft and be better at things that we weren't that good at. This gives me more time to finish my master's because I was in a time crunch. I was going to have a semester left after I was done playing this season, so now this gives me more time to space that out and finish it. I've had some time to think these last couple of days, and I'm doing better in terms of just accepting the reality.

Serrano: You're a leader on your team. What advice or words of encouragement are you giving your team?

Hall: I'm just telling everyone to stay focused right now because it's a little discouraging not having a season, so it's hard to see what we're actually working for. But I'm just telling everyone to stay positive and stay up. At the end of the day, we're football players, so that's what we're going to do, and don't get down.

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