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Nunes returns to field
Callie Nunes
Callie Nunes

Callie Nunes didn’t want anything to do with softball following the cancellation of Concordia University Irvine’s season this past spring due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

“When I first got home from school after we got shut down, I took a month off,” the 2017 Ceres High School grad said. “It was taken from us so quickly. I needed to mentally recuperate. It also gave my body a break.”

Nunes moved back to Irvine in August for the start of the 2020-21 school year.

The fall semester got underway on Aug. 31.

Concordia University held its first full-team practice for softball on Oct. 5.

COVID-19 safety measures are being followed.

“We’ve been practicing for a little over a month,” said Nunes, a senior pitcher. “Our school is the first school in our conference to return to practice. Obviously, it’s uplifting. It gives us some hope. It’s a step in the right direction. We have to wear a mask and stay six feet apart. We also have to get our temperatures taken before we enter the weight room, dugout and training room. Everything is sanitized.”

“We have been so blessed to be able to work as a team both within our athletic department and our campus community to come up with a plan that has allowed our student-athletes to return to do what they love in a safe environment,” said CUI director of athletics and head softball coach Crystal Rosenthal said. “It has been amazing to get back out there and see our student-athletes get to be around their teammates and coaches, and play the sport they love!”

“She (Rosenthal) is following all of the rules to the T so we’re capable of playing,” Nunes said. “It’s definitely very strict. You have to be in constant communication with your trainers and coaches.”

The PacWest Executive Board announced on Oct. 5 conference competition in all sports would start no earlier than January 2021.

“It looks like we’re going to play but nothing is set in stone yet. We’re still leery of what’s going to happen. We don’t want to get our hopes up and get the rug taken out from underneath us again.”
Callie Nunes

“It looks like we’re going to play but nothing is set in stone yet,” Nunes said.  “We’re still leery of what’s going to happen. We don’t want to get our hopes up and get the rug taken out from underneath us again.”

“For any competition to begin, it will need to be allowable under guidelines set by local, county, state, and federal authorities, as well as the NCAA,” PacWest Commissioner Bob Hogue stated. “We have previously delayed the start of conference competition in fall sports until the winter/spring semester, and now the same goes for our winter sports of men’s and women’s basketball. Our desire is to create a safe and healthy environment for all of our student-athletes.”

Finalized conference schedules are expected to be announced for each of the PacWest sports in the coming weeks as determinations are made for specific starting dates and length of seasons in the coming weeks.

“There’s been talk of having fewer games to limit contacts,” Nunes said.

The PacWest sponsors softball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s cross country, women’s volleyball, baseball, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s tennis, and men’s and women’s track and field.  

Concordia University Irvine and 10 other member NCAA Division-II schools make up the PacWest Conference.

The PacWest Executive Board will be the final decision-maker on the ultimate plans for the conference’s safe return to play.

Zero Concordia University student-athletes have tested positive for COVID-19 as of Monday.

“This disease is definitely real,” Nunes added. “It’s affected hundreds of thousands of people. Personally, I’m not worried about getting it. If I did get it, I’d be concerned about giving it to my family. I just have to do my part and take responsibility for my actions.”