City College student-athletes sidelined during pandemic

The closure of campus means college sports are on hold

Cristian Penaloza

Cristian Penaloza practices before the pandemic. Cristian Penaloza photo

Joel Nevarez, Contributor

Cristian Penaloza got up early as he was ready for his first day of college this past August. 

The only problem is that it was behind a computer screen. 

This has been the reality for all the students at San Diego City College, which decided last spring that the entire fall 2020 term would be remote due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But Penaloza isn’t just your typical City College student.

He is a first-generation college student and a student-athlete on the Knights soccer team. He is a defender from San Diego High School who just finished his first semester of college. 

City Knights sports postponed

“It was difficult to adjust,” said Penaloza, who is studying biology and hopes to transfer to San Diego State University to pursue a nursing career. “I usually have lots of questions and now they can’t be answered right away. It’s a total 180 from what I’m used to so I really hope in the near future we can head back to the classroom.”  

Adjusting to the academic side of college has been difficult, but COVID-19 also makes life more difficult for all of the City’s student-athletes.

COVID-19 restrictions don’t allow for any in-person gathering on campus and for a first-year student-athlete, it makes it extremely difficult to further develop and build team chemistry. 

“I went from training almost every day to not training at all or playing any games,” Penaloza said. “It being my first year of college, I was really hoping to be in-person to learn the ins and outs of the system.”

Penaloza plans to be able to meet his teammates and coaches in person once given permission, which he hopes is in January.

“I just hope we can get back to in-person learning as soon as possible.”

Joel Nevarez was a student in the DJRN 200, Newswriting for Multimedia, during the fall 2020 semester.