Three things to look forward to in spring semester sports

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With the first few weeks of classes behind us, fans can get back to supporting their favorite Panthers’ spring sports teams.

Of the 15 teams that compose Georgia State’s NCAA’s athletic teams, five finished their season in the fall: football, women’s and men’s soccer, women’s cross country and volleyball.

This semester, women and men will compete in basketball, golf and tennis. The women’s exclusive sports like beach volleyball, softball and track and field begin this semester. 

Given how things worked in the fall, these athletes and fans are excited to begin their seasons. Some teams, such as the basketball teams, return to action after action paused over the holiday break and saw success early.

Of course, with a new season comes new expectations, and the spring semester at Georgia State is sure to intrigue their fans. Here are three of the biggest things to look out for heading into the year.

The return of fifth-year student-athletes granted an extra year of eligibility

It is only fair to begin with student-athletes’ extra year of eligibility.

The NCAA granted all spring student-athletes an extra year of eligibility last March.

“Division I rules limit student-athletes to four seasons of competition in a five-year period. The Council’s decision allows schools to self-apply waivers to restore one of those seasons of competition for student-athletes who had competed while eligible in the COVID-19-shortened 2020 spring season,” the NCAA’s press release stated.

The NCAA also acknowledged the pandemic would affect its student-athletes for both winter and spring sports in October.

“Winter sport student-athletes who compete during 2020-21 in Division I will receive both an additional season of competition and an additional year in which to complete it, the Division I Council decided,” the NCAA said. “The same flexibility was provided to student-athletes after the spring season was canceled in 2020 and the fall season was seriously impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

With that in mind, a variety of paths could come up throughout the year. Students could opt out of the season, powerhouses could see themselves reduced, and a series of unusual changes could happen.

The safety of the golf teams during the cold weather 

Over the last 10 months, finding outdoor activities that are safe, enjoyable and still time-consuming can be challenging, especially in the winter.

Enter, golf.

The men’s team has a packed spring schedule that sees them in five tournaments before the Sun Belt Conference Championships at the end of April. All in all, they hope to complete their regular-season slate as they build-up to the Conference Championships in April, and capture their ninth conference title as the season begins on Feb. 14.

“I’m really excited about a very competitive schedule we have put together for the spring,” head coach Chad Wilson said. “We think this schedule not only prepares us well for conference and NCAA Regional play but also gives us some flexibility to add an event in if conditions allow.”

Twin magic arrives in Atlanta and may even bring some luck

Dynamic duos typically refer to the best in the game: Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley or Mike Soroka and Max Fried. But what about in the literal sense?

What about an actual set of twins on a team? On multiple teams at the same school?

Twin beach volleyball players Angel and Bella Ferary are the latest impact twins to grace Georgia State University.

The AAU Junior Olympics named the Peach State natives First Team AVCA All-Americans this summer after placing first.

Adding their prowess to an already high-achieving beach volleyball team will serve to better the team on the court in this challenging year.

Whether they were mentioned in detail, like golf and the Ferary twins, or given their spotlight at the beginning of this story, all 10 teams will make an impact somewhere this semester.

Good luck to all the teams, and thank you for another sports-filled semester.