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JMU athletes reflect on another shortened season

By on December 4, 2021 0

HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) – James Madison University Athletics recently moved from the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) to the Sun Belt Conference. The realignment will allow JMU to compete at the highest level of college football.

However, the move comes at a cost to student-athletes after the Dukes were barred from competing for the CAA titles this season.

“When we first heard the news, we couldn’t believe it,” said Rodrigo Robles, second-year footballer in the red shirt.

“It was really upsetting and frustrating,” added junior diver Felicity Ryan.

In a movement dubbed “Athletes Unite,” the Dukes have come together to fight for the chance to compete for the conference titles. The campaign has gained traction on social media, but CAA presidents have stood firm in their decision.

Winter sports recently kicked off in Harrisonburg and the Dukes are united again, this time to readjust expectations for the season. The Dukes will not be able to use the conference competition to earn seats in the NCAA tournament. However, student-athletes continue to strive for excellence in the classroom and on the playing field.

“I’ve spent more time studying this year than in the past, but I’m more focused than ever on the track. I always want to beat a personal best, ”said Bethany Biggi, second-year track and field athlete in a red shirt.

“We’ve always been close, but this time around has made us even closer,” added Redshirt senior track and field athlete Skyla Davidson.

After the COVID-19 pandemic halted competition last year, the Dukes are enjoying another cut short season. By standing together and putting their well-being first, JMU student-athletes are preparing for another successful winter program on and off the playing field.

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