Local athletes return to state to avoid Hurricane Irma

Four local athletes attending college in south Florida have had their schooling put on hold the past week while Hurricane Irma barreled through the Sunshine State.

Columbus North graduates Sawyer and Kooper Glick, who play basketball at Barry University in Miami, and North grad Tayler Goodall and Columbus East grad Cortney VanLiew, who attend Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, are back in Indiana this week. Their schools are closed until Monday.

The Glicks, who are in their second year at Barry after transferring from other colleges, brought one of their  teammates — London, England-native Kyle Carey — home with them. When Barry closed Sept. 6, the Glicks’ mother, Jill, booked them a flight back to Indiana, but the airport closed.

So the Glicks and Carey started driving at 5:30 p.m. that day. It took them 20 hours to get to Valdosta, Georgia, where they slept in the car in a McDonald’s parking lot for 2½ hours after finding all of the hotels were full.

After driving in more bumper-to-bumper traffic through Georgia, the Glicks and Carey finally were able to move at normal speed once they got off I-75 onto I-24 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. They made it home at 11 p.m. Sept. 7. What was normally an 18-hour drive took nearly 30 hours.

Since returning to Columbus, the Glicks have been keeping an eye on the weather in south Florida. They’ve been in contact with one of their teammates, David Moya, who is from Plantation, Florida, and the two teammates from Europe that are staying with Moya. They said a lot of trees and poles were uplifted around their neighborhood, but that their house is safe.

This is the second time in two years that Barry has had to cancel classes because of the weather. Last fall, it braced for a possible hurricane, but it just ended up being a Tropical Storm, and the Glicks stayed on campus.

This time, evacuation was mandatory.

“They definitely were a little more scared for this one,” Sawyer Glick said. “They didn’t want to run the risk of leaving students on campus.”

Barry had just started school Aug. 21. Workouts for basketball began the weekend before the evacuation.

Last weekend and this week, the Glicks and Carey have been working out with Nathan Frasier at MVP and going into the gym to shoot at North. They’ve also been shooting at East with Olympians assistant coach Sean Miller.

“We had been in school two or three weeks, and we were just starting to pick up basketball, and then this came up and put a brake on it,” Kooper Glick said. “We just have to keep working out here in Columbus and try to use all the resources that we have here.”

Meanwhile, VanLiew’s trip back to Indiana was a scheduled one. The freshman is with the FGCU volleyball team that is playing in a tournament Friday and Saturday at Indiana University.

The Eagles, instead of returning to campus following last weekend’s tournament in Davidson, North Carolina, went straight to Bloomington. They arrived at 3 p.m. Monday and have been training and doing homework at IU.

“It’s been amazing the type of support they’ve given us and the team,” VanLiew said.

The team planed to go sightseeing Wednesday in downtown Indianapolis. FGCU plays Samford at 5 p.m. Friday, UNLV at 10 a.m. Saturday and Indiana at 7 p.m. Saturday.

VanLiew had gone to summer school and was two weeks into the fall semester when the campus was evacuated.

“It’s crazy,” VanLiew said. “I felt like I was just getting into rhythm with school and volleyball. It’s kind of a strange situation.”

Goodall had been a member of the FGCU women’s basketball team the past three years, but gave up that sport this summer to take a job working with the school’s athletics department.

After the campus was evacuated Sept. 5, Goodall decided to go to the grocery store to buy food and water because it was running out quickly, but found that the whole aisle of canned food and bottled water were completely gone. So she called her parents about getting a flight home.

Goodall had 30 minutes to pack and get to the airport in nearby Punta Gorda for the flight. There were only two tickets left on her flight.

Goodall, who is majoring in health science with a minor in education, is planning on going into radiology or becoming an ultrasound technician. But after being awarded a president’s scholarship and working in the athletics department, she may change her mind.

“I’m really happy about this new opportunity,” Goodall said. “I’m really liking it so far. I’m hoping to get a lot of experience and maybe down the road, I would consider working in athletics.”

The Glicks and Goodall are planning to head back to their respective colleges this weekend, and VanLiew and the FGCU volleyball team will head back following their match Saturday night. Barring any remaining structural damage on the campuses, classes are set to resume Monday.

East grad named Freshman of Week

Columbus East graduate Cortney VanLiew has been named the Atlantic Sun Conference Freshman of the Week for volleyball.

The f-foot-11 outside hitter recorded 44 kills and 27 digs in three matches to help Florida Gulf Coast to a 2-1 record in Davidson’s Wildcat Classic. She led the Eagles with 17 kills and three aces and added two blocks in a five-set win against the host school and was named to the All-Tournament team.

“It was definitely a shock,” VanLiew said. “I was definitely surprised when they named me. I thought I had a pretty good weekend, but I didn’t know it was that good, so I was surprised.”

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Ted Schultz is sports editor for The Republic. He can be reached at tschultz@therepublic.com or 812-379-5628.