Hell Week

Recap of Vulcan Fall preseason training

Writer: Trixie Croad

Photos: Vulcan Athletics SID Russ Blunk

Every year, our Fall season athletics teams arrive on campus early and undergo a rigorous week of preseason training before the distractions of college life kick in. At UH Hilo, this means the cross country, volleyball, and men's and women's soccer teams take part in what has been affectionately dubbed “Hell Week.”

The first task of the week is “physicals,” which take place the day before training starts. This is to ensure that each athlete is fit to practice and compete. They go through a thorough list of physical tests, including concussion base testing, eyesight and heart rate checks, muscle and joint flexibility, the list goes on. Anyone who does not pass these basic tests because of some injury or health issue is not allowed to practice or play until the issue has been resolved.

volleyball athletes practicing tossing balls

Monday rolled around and it was full steam ahead for all four teams as they began their training week. The Volleyball team began at 8 a.m. with a stairs and weights workout followed by a two hour practice, and then lunch. The athletes then get a break just long enough for a nap before the afternoon session commenced, consisting of a team meeting followed by a two and a half hour practice, and then dinner.

This sequence was repeated Monday through Friday, leading up to a scrimmage on Saturday morning, and a celebratory dinner at WikiFresh that night. With that, Hell Week for the Vulcan volleyball team was complete. As is common with such intensive training, injuries were inflicted. Three players were out for the week with injuries, none of which were serious, and the Vulcans should be back up to full numbers by next week.

When talking to the team, they were in high spirits, having made it through the week. “Waking up was the hardest part,” says incoming freshman setter ShaRae.

Freshman Amber Tai was really nervous. “On the first day after weights, I walked into the gym and I felt like I was going to pass out”. The players said they are glad to have put in the work to kick off an exciting and promising season ahead.

Men’s soccer also practiced twice a day throughout the week. Because Coach Gene Okamura is Head Coach of both the men’s and women’s teams, the practices were staggered. The men followed the women in both the morning and the afternoon sessions.

According to sophomore transfer Jeff Meier, the morning practices were mostly skill based, while the afternoons were more scrimmage based. Practices were held both downtown at Bayfront Park, as well as at Kamehameha School, which will be their home field for the season.

Soccer stopped practicing at the field on campus a few years ago after several injuries occurred because of the poor drainage. Now the regular practice location is Bayfront Park.

Meier says Hell Week was really tough, especially in the Hilo humidity that he and many of the other new players are not used to. Ice baths and proper recovery after each practice session helped keep the Vulcans going day after day. Overall, Meier says he was impressed with the skill of the players on the team and thinks that once they have had more time to come together as a team on the field, they will be a really solid squad.

The women’s schedule was similar to the men’s, with everything moved up a couple of hours so that Coach Gene could focus on one team at a time. Unfortunately, the women’s side suffered a plethora of injuries, 10 in total, which made it hard to gain team chemistry on the field throughout the week.

Cross Country rose with the sun every morning of Hell Week, beginning each day’s session with a 6 a.m. start. They varied their runs, doing hills some days, changing the tempo and length of each run, as well as doing time trials. Over half of the team this year are new, so this gave all those new student athletes the chance to complete new student orientation activities after their daily morning training.

Check out the home games schedule in this issue to know when to catch these teams in action, and follow their season at hiloathletics.com