SIGNAL PEAK — Five of the 21 Central Arizona College student-athletes who hail from foreign countries are living on campus in a residence hall. The rest have either returned home or found refuge in the United States with relatives or family acquaintances.
Coping with the logistical ramifications of the COVID-19 coronavirus has posed some unique challenges for CAC athletic director Chuck Schnoor and the school’s coaches since the campus was closed in late March. All things considered, Schnoor said it’s been a smooth transition.
“The leadership from [CAC president Dr. Jackie Elliott] on down has been excellent,” he said. “The communication has been fantastic” in regard to meeting the needs “of our students and student-athletes.”
CAC’s foreign athletes come from 12 countries: Grenada (four), Jamaica and South Africa (three apiece), Canada and Australia (two each) and one apiece from Ghana, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago, Senegal, France and England.
Track and field listed 12 foreign athletes on its men’s and women’s rosters (one departed before the semester started) prior to the NJCAA canceling all competition March 16, followed by men’s basketball with five, baseball with four and women’s basketball with one.
The NJCAA’s decision to cancel competition deprived the sixth-seeded women’s basketball team (28-3) from playing in the national tournament for the first time since 2015. The defending NJCAA champion baseball team (19-9-1) and softball (17-10) were well into their seasons, but track and field had yet to compete in a meet.
The foreign athletes staying in dormitory housing include three from track and field and two from men’s basketball. Three resident assistants are also living on campus, CAC public relations and marketing executive director Angela Askey told PinalCentral in an email.
The men’s basketball players staying in the dorms are Abdoul Ndao of Senegal and Alan Tchatchouang of France.
Track coach Andrew Wood did not disclose the names of his three athletes living on campus. Two of the track athletes will continue to reside on campus after the semester ends May 15.
All four CAC coaches contacted by PinalCentral said their athletes — foreign and domestic — remain enrolled and are taking classes online.
Wood said he and his staff keep in regular contact with their athletes via social media, texting and email. That also is the case for men’s basketball coach Tramaine Aaron, baseball coach Anthony Gilich and women’s basketball coach Denise Cardenas.
Aaron said the two men’s basketball players who are staying at CAC are “in good spirits” despite the gym being closed. “Like every other athlete, they just wish they could be working out,” he said.
There is regular meal service for those staying in the residence hall. They have access to three entrees a day, seven days a week, along with side dishes, salads, fresh fruit and vegetables and a variety of beverages, snack items and sweets.
Entrees are cooked fresh daily and refrigerated in the dorm kitchen. They are available for pickup from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and “extra care is taken to address the different breakfast, lunch and dinner themes,” director of dining services Daniel Spott said in an email.
“Students visit the dorm kitchen and stock up on whichever entrees and snack items they prefer,” he said. “All meals are available for students to take (to their rooms), store in their individual mini fridge, heat in their own microwave or eat.”
No meal preparation takes place in the dorm kitchen. That is done at another campus location by a chef from Aladdin Food Management Services.
“Since we are serving a small number of guests, my chef – who has been with us a number of years – is handling ordering, preparation, safe packaging, delivery and cleanup on her own,” Spott said. “Additionally, she is making sure to date and plastic wrap the microwaveable containers to provide assurance that the food inside is coming directly from our kitchen to the student.”