BY AUSTIN RUSH | Statesman The UMD women’s basketball season may be long over, but junior center Allyson Harris is already thinking about next winter’s season and she wants her teammates to do the same.
Harris won't be heading home this summer. For the second summer in a row, she plans to stay in Duluth to train for next season campaign.
This past summer Harris didn’t take a single day off. She worked out with the team’s trainer every morning. This summer will be no different for Harris, but this time around she’s challenging some of her returning teammates to follow her lead by staying in Duluth to train with her. Sophomore center Allison Olley is the only teammate to commit to training with Harris this summer (so far).
Olley, who is also a member of the UMD women’s volleyball team, trains with that team over the summer in Duluth and is looking forward to joining Harris this summer.
“I'm excited to put time in the weight room and the gym with Al and hopefully others,” Olley said. “I think staying up in the summer has helped me get to the next level and it's even better when you can do it with your teammates.”
Harris will be doing a little bit of everything over the summer but her focus remains on basketball.
”I plan on staying in Duluth, working, doing research at the University and working out in the mornings. The morning workouts consist of a lift and an agility/conditioning workout outside on the football (field at Malosky stadium),” Harris said.
She sees plenty of positives in her teammates joining her for the summer and wants to build on a disappointing 2015-2016 season in which they finished with an overall record of 7-19, albeit with an injury-shortened roster.
“Getting some of the girls to stay up here this summer, I think, could really help in taking our team to the next level. I think we have a lot of potential next year,” Harris said.
By staying up here last summer Harris said she saw a lot of improvements in her individual game by getting shots up on the court that she’s most used to and comfortable playing on.
“I think if we can get enough girls from the team to be there together and to push each other then we will be getting better than if we are at home in the gym alone,” Harris said.
Olley believes that the will-be-senior’s commitment sets a good example for the underclassmen.
“Al has been a great leader on this team and I think having her stay up in Duluth again will encourage younger girls to consider it as well,” Olley said.
Senior forward for the men’s basketball team, Pierre Newton, also has previous experience with staying in Duluth for the summer with several of his teammates and believes it would be very beneficial for the women’s team if they opted to stay in Duluth as well.
“It helped a lot,” Newton said. “Mainly it helps build a bond between your teammates and you grow stronger and closer as a team on the court; you get the advantage of working out in great facilities and putting in extra hours in the gym.”