May 5, 2020
For many Mizzou student-athletes, the move off-campus also meant an abrupt end to the spring season. Amid so much uncertainty, Tigers rose to the challenge and quickly adapted how they train and connect with coaches, supporters and fellow teammates. The hard work doesn’t stop, and Tigers are finding new ways to stay active and ready to compete.
On this week’s episode of Remote MU, we talk with three Mizzou student-athletes: Hannah Schuchts, a graduate student earning her Master of Business Administration and a member of the Women’s Basketball Team; Riley Sents, a graduate student earning her Master of Education and a member of the Women’s Volleyball Team; and Jayson Ashford, a junior General Studies major and a Track and Field athlete. Together, we discuss how they’ve been impacted by social distancing and what they’re doing to stay at the top of their game.
Moderator: [00:00:32] From the classroom to the cornfield, journalism to SEC athletics, and now to computer screens around the world, the University of Missouri works 52 weeks a year, every year. This is Remote MU — a special edition series of Inside Mizzou that explores the real stories, real discoveries and real impact of our remote community. This episode of Remote MU is called, “Home and Away.” Mizzou student athletes are used to working hard and facing tough challenges, but nothing could have prepared them for right now. Despite so many difficulties, our resilient Tigers are still at the top of their game, even as day-to-day life has changed drastically. Today on Remote MU, we have three student athletes joining us. We’re going to talk a bit about what it’s like to have your season altered by COVID-19 and how these accomplished athletes are keeping in-touch and staying engaged with our Mizzou community. Joining me over Zoom to talk more about this are Hannah Schuchts, a graduate student earning her Master of Business Administration. Hannah is also a Mizzou Women’s Basketball player. Riley Sents, a graduate student earning her Master of Education in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis, and a Mizzou Women’s Volleyball player. And Jayson Ashford, a junior majoring in General Studies. Jayson is also a Track and Field athlete. Welcome, everyone. And thanks for joining me today.
Hannah Schuchts: [00:01:26] Thank you for having me. I’m excited to be a part.
Riley Sents: [00:01:28] Yeah. Thanks so much.
Moderator: [00:01:31] Yeah, no problem. And so, Hannah, I have the first question for you. It’s been a big shift moving away from on-campus work. What was the change like for you personally?
Hannah Schuchts: [00:01:40] Yeah, it has been a big change for sure. So all of our classes obviously shifted to online. So I think my biggest challenge has just been kind of trying to figure out how to manage my time now that I have so much extra free time and still find the motivation as if I were going to classes to get my work done. You know, it hasn’t really been too difficult of a transition because we’ve had so much support from Athletics staff and from the business school. But it’s definitely been different to get used to.
Moderator: [00:02:10] Ok. Awesome. And then, Riley, I have this question for you. Teamwork is essential to your success as a student-athlete. How do you keep those connections strong even when you can’t be together?
Riley Sents: [00:02:19] So since I was a senior this year, I finished up my eligibility in the fall, and I didn’t really do any spring training with the team this semester, but I still stayed super connected with a lot of my teammates who are now my best friends. I would say a big thing is we’re really blessed to have the technology that we do have. So even though we are far apart in this time and it is super important to stay connected, we can still do that through platforms like Facetime, Zoom and Houseparty. So those have kind of been like the three biggest connectors for me that have allowed me to stay in touch with my friends, my family and especially those teammates. I had not known about Houseparty before this time, and it’s been a really fun app that lets you play games like trivia and heads up. So I’ve really been using that one and it’s just been a blast. So, I’m really thankful to have those kind of platforms to still stay connected, even though we are in lots of different places.
Moderator: [00:03:11] So, Jayson, the next question is for you. You’re eligible to participate again next spring. How are your coaches staying in contact and making sure everyone is ready to compete?
Jayson Ashford: [00:03:21] A lot of group messaging. They try and contact us like every week or so to make sure everything’s alright. No injuries. No, like, problems with going outside or getting outside or getting to a track, which honestly has a huge impact right now because a lot of the tracks are locked down right now. But the communication is good, just keeping us encouraged to get better through this entire like, some people are taking this time off, but this isn’t time off, because I still want to be better and get greater. So I can do good for the team next year, honestly.
Moderator: [00:04:01] Exactly. Exactly. And so by now, you know, everyone knows about remote learning. Would you say there’s such thing as remote practice? Can you tell us a bit about how you’re staying prepared for next year?
Jayson Ashford: [00:04:15] It’s basically doing whatever I can. Since there’s no track. I’m using the streets, my basement, medicine balls, stuff like that, to stay in shape because, like, I’ve basically had to mark off like a 200 meter, 100 meter, 150 meter distance on my street so I could do some reps. Because, like, I still have yet to find of rubber track to go to because every high school that has one is mostly locked down.
Moderator: [00:04:50] And so, you know, since you’re unable to, because you’re not running in your track shoes, apparently, right? Clearly, since you’re not able to actually get on a track. So how frustrating is that and are you working just more on technique or are you working more on certain, like, smaller things as opposed to actually being able to be on the track and work with the actual equipment that you’re used to?
Jayson Ashford: [00:05:10] A lot of technique. Because that’s the basis of what I’ve been working on for the past few years, because that’s going to be my upbringing, because once I fix my technique, then everything else will fall into place.
Moderator: [00:05:23] Right.
Jayson Ashford: [00:05:23] And then, like, honestly, with the street I have to take some days off, because it’s a lot of force into the ground on concrete. Well, on rubber you get a little bit of bounce back. But concrete absorbs everything, concrete and asphalt.
Moderator: [00:05:44] Yeah. And I can only imagine how tough that could be. And first question for both of you. I’m sure it’s difficult that your time as Mizzou student-athletes ended this way. What will you remember most about your time as a Tiger? Hannah, we can start with you, if you want.
Hannah Schuchts: [00:06:01] Yeah, I’ve had a great experience over these past five years. I would say probably some of my favorite memories are on the court, being able to make it to the NCAA tournament four out of five years has been super special. But then more importantly, I think it’s just been the relationships that I’ve been able to build with my teammates and with other athletes and just kind of the bond that we’ve created going through all these hard times together and then going through all the wins together. But the relationships are really what I’ll take with me.
Moderator: [00:06:30] Riley?
Riley Sents: [00:06:32] Yeah, I would definitely have to echo the relationships piece. The people that I’ve gotten to know through Mizzou over these last five years have been priceless and they’re people that all carry with me throughout my entire life. And what I’d also say that I remember most is just how amazing the Mizzou community is. Like, I’ll never forget all of the times that I competed at home in Hearnes with such awesome support from our fans coming out pretty much every single match. And just the overall positive impact that the community had on my experience was huge.
Moderator: [00:07:03] Awesome. Awesome. And so another question for you guys. And so both of you started your graduate studies while still playing your sports. Was the workload any different or did it make it any more difficult or any easier to balance that along with everything you had to do it athletically?
Hannah Schuchts: [00:07:18] Yeah, it was you know, I had a good experience transitioning into graduate school, but it definitely was a lot more work and just more time consuming, I would say. The projects that I would work on were more in-depth. I did a lot more group projects and group work. And so finding the time to meet with people outside of practice in normal classes, I would say was probably the biggest adjustment, you know, and I have been able to learn, you know, a ton through the experience.
Moderator: [00:07:43] Riley?
Riley Sents: [00:07:45] Yeah, I would say that I also had a pretty smooth transition. I was able to start the summer before this last fall. So that kind of helped, like, ease into what grad school was going to kind of be like. For me, it was actually less projects. I was, I did my undergrad in the journalism school and I was in the Strategic Communications department. And so we had a lot of great projects then. So I actually had less when I transitioned to grad school. But it was definitely more on the reading, like heavier reading side. So just being able to manage that time of like still alotting, the ability to read all of the different articles and things that I had in order to write different papers. So that was the biggest transition, was actually less group projects, but more reading.
Moderator: [00:08:29] Just as a, as a fellow graduate student, I can definitely attest to the amount of reading that I had to adjust to as well. And so the last question where you are. How are you staying active right now? And how can those listening stay active as well, even as they keep their distance?
Jayson Ashford: [00:08:45] A good way is like, a lot of abs, basically. I do my abs at night. But you do them throughout the day. You don’t have to do them all at once, to be honest. Abs are key, to be honest. And then like some push ups, of course.
Moderator: [00:09:04] Yeah, they anything body weight is helpful.
Jayson Ashford: [00:09:06] Yeah. Body weight squats are big. Cause like, 50 body weight squats honestly feels like a good couple sets of regular squats, to be honest.
Hannah Schuchts: [00:09:20] Yeah, I’ve been doing just a lot of at-home workouts, really, watching videos on Instagram or YouTube or different platforms and kind of doing them with my siblings at home and also taking a lot of walks, walking on the beach. Stuff like that. But it’s definitely possible to stay active at home. It just looks a little bit different.
Riley Sents: [00:09:41] Yeah, I would pretty much say the same thing. A lot of bodyweight workouts. I don’t have a ton of fitness equipment, unfortunately, so I’m getting to see kind of how much I took gyms for granted over my time. I really like Crossfit workouts, so I’m subscribed to like a Crossfit programming thing that they send out that does all workouts with little equipment or no equipment at all. And kind of like Hannah, just walking out on trails and just walking around the neighborhood. Anything to really get my body moving. And I would say just like Googling any kinds of at-home workouts, you probably get a ton of different ideas right now. So that’s also what I’ve been doing to kind of stay creative with it.
Moderator: [00:10:18] Awesome. Yes, I’ve committed myself to trying to run more. I don’t think I’m doing great, but I’m doing better than I was before. Yeah, but I’m trying to make the best out of this quarantine time as well. But that was my last question for you all. Thank you again for taking the time to sit with us and talk with us over Zoom, and do this for us and we hope you guys continue to stay safe doing this quarantine period. And we wish you the best of luck moving forward.
Jayson Ashford: [00:10:46] Thank you so much.
Hannah Schuchts: [00:10:47] Awesome. Thank you.
Riley Sents: [00:10:48] Thank you so much.
Moderator: [00:11:16] Our audio engineer is Aaron Hay. Our featured music is composed by MU master’s student Niko D. Schroeder and performed by the Donald Sinta Quartet. You can find more information about Niko, the Quartet and their piece on the Inside Mizzou webpage. Make sure to join us next time to stay on top of what’s happening with our remote community. Thanks for joining us for this special edition series, Remote MU. Stay strong Mizzou.