Though no events or games are taking place this fall on campus, St. Bonaventure student-athletes still have great stories to tell. During the fall semester, GoBonnies.com will feature members from each of our 17 Division I teams – how they're adjusting to the new norms of campus life, preparing for the upcoming seasons and more.
In this edition, we feature men's cross country sophomore Darion Gregory.
A Smethport, Pa. native, Gregory ran in every event during the fall, finishing in the team's top seven in each competition. He placed second on the team at NCAA Northeast Regionals, running a 10K time of 33:15.8.
Prior to Bonaventure, Gregory was a four-time state qualifier and two time cross country state medalist. He was also selected as the MVP for track and cross country.
How have you adapted to the new changes on campus regarding COVID safety protocols? Have they helped make you feel safer since coming back?
Obviously all the new protocols regarding COVID took some getting used to. The campus looks a lot different than how it looked when I left back in March, but I am very impressed with the actions taken by the University to ensure the safety of all students, faculty, and staff. Feeling safe on campus is a big deal to me especially since deciding to commute this semester as I do not want to bring anything back to my family or community.
What did you do over the spring/summer to stay in shape and get ready to get back to practices this fall (and was it difficult to find places to workout/practice because of quarantines)?
I live in a very rural area that was not hit hard by COVID or lockdowns, so I was very lucky that my running routes were not altered; however, my local gym was shut down for the spring/summer so I took to doing at-home body weight workouts to keep up on strength training.
What was one good thing that came out of the spring sports shutdown and odd summer for you? Did you develop any new hobbies/interests?
Because I had much more time in the Spring than I've had for many years, I was able to do much more fishing. I spent the extra time improving my fly-fishing skills. More importantly, I got to spend a lot of time with my grandfather. My grandfather is a very social person and quarantining with little human interaction was very hard on him, but fishing gave us an opportunity to see each other in person without putting his health at risk. Having this time together really helped both him and I to deal with the stress of the COVID pandemic.
What messages/advice have your coaches given you for staying positive during these tough times?
Coach Mac assigned us to read the book Make Your Bed by Admiral William H. McRaven during the spring and summer. The book touched on topics such as overcoming adversity and pushing through tough situations in order to succeed. The book really helped to put our current situation in perspective. If this man was able to overcome all the atrocities of war and come out successful for the good of the American people, the least we could do was endure some minor inconveniences in order to keep our at risk population safe.
Even though there are no competitions this fall, how excited are you to get back to workouts with your team? Do you look at practices and work with your teammates any differently since the COVID shutdown?
I definitely took workouts with the team for granted pre-COVID. Doing workouts as a group or even with a partner helps reduce the monotony and physical pain that comes with intense workouts. After working out by myself for a few months, I am extremely excited to get back with the team.
What was the one thing you were most looking forward to about returning to Bonaventure?
Definitely the thing I am looking forward to most about returning to Bonaventure is getting a dose of normalcy. I know things are a lot different with the COVID protocols but still being able to go to class and practice with other people ends the social isolation I was feeling during our break.
For the latest news on St. Bonaventure athletics, stay connected on social media. Follow the Bonnies on Twitter @GoBonnies and get cross country updates @BonniesXCTrack. Keep up with the Bonnies on Facebook /GoBonnies and on Instagram @GoBonnies.