How UD athletes are moving on in midst of COVID-19

Julia Chandler, one of many UD athletes moving on through uncharted territory, holds the A10 Championship trophy, one of many accomplishments by UD athletics in 2019-20. Photo courtesy of Keegan Gupta, Flyer News

Luc Almeda
Assistant Sports Editor

In the midst of the unorthodox times COVID-19 has brought, several University of Dayton athletes are still preparing for their next steps. 

UD has a number of former competitors eager to move on to careers of all sorts, whether it be the NBA draft, the NFL season or starting a company.

Dayton’s 2019-20 athletics were headlined by one of the most successful athletes in the history of the school; Obi Toppin. Toppin, a name that is now familiar to not only the Flyer Faithful but in households across the nation, was named the country’s best college basketball player by various outlets. He won a total of 14 national awards.

Toppin has been placed as one of the top picks on numerous draft boards throughout the season, landing within the lottery in many. While he is a near lock to be drafted, a few of his counterparts are weighing a similar option.

Jalen Crutcher and Ibi Watson, two more players on UD’s historic 2019-20 basketball team, declared for the NBA draft without hiring an agent. Watson recently announced his plan to return to Dayton, but Crutcher has not yet made a final decision. This means that he is able to keep his college eligibility if he pulls out by a certain date prior to the draft. Normally this day is June 3, but the coronavirus pandemic and its effects have forced the NBA to select a different date. The NBA draft is set to take place on June 25. 

Along with the Dayton men’s basketball team, the football team also produced a pro. Their first in 43 years, for those keeping track. Adam Trautman, a recent graduate of UD and a former tight end on the team, was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the 3rd round of the 2020 NFL draft. 

Dayton’s marquee 2020 athletes in both Toppin and Trautman displayed the successful network of Flyers that have come through the school. Only this time, the alumnus are putting UD on the map in other ways than expected. For the mid sized private university that UD is, two professional sports draft picks in the same year makes for an unforgettable era. 

In addition to the bigger names that are coming out of the school this year, there are other former Dayton athletes that are beginning new careers in sports. Julia Chandler, a forward on the A10 champion women’s basketball team, is preparing for a professional career in France. 

“If all goes well and the pandemic gets under control, I plan on playing professionally in Monte Carlo, Monaco which is a small country south of France,” Chandler said.

Chandler finished her final season as a Flyer averaging career highs in assists, steals and blocks. 

Off the court, she was presented with the Bette Rogge Morse Award Outstanding Senior Woman in Communication by the UD Communications Department. 

“My favorite memory as a student would have to be finishing the Documentary I created with 11 other students called ‘Dayton’s Darkest Summer,’”said Chandler. Along with her stellar year with the women’s basketball team, Chandler made her mark as a student.

“Finishing that project was the best memory by far, to be able to create something from nothing is an unbelievable feeling. Finishing it and premiering it to hundreds of people over zoom has to be my favorite moment.”

A former Dayton men’s soccer player, Federico Barrios, has plans to not only continue his soccer career but start his own business at the same time. Barrios wanted to pursue his passion for soccer, but tie it in with his passion for helping others. He will continue to push towards his goal of playing professionally while starting his own medical supplies company.

“My plans are to keep playing soccer and manage the import/export company that I just started with my mom,” Barrios said. He had already gotten his soccer career off to a start prior to the coronavirus, but was forced to return to his home of Columbia.

“Before COVID I was playing professionally in Costa Rica and because of the virus and the Colombian Government closing borders I had to return.”

People all over the world are trying to remain healthy with the help of personal protective equipment, or PPE. With such high demand, prices for PPE have catapulted. Barrios wants to help people in his home country by providing affordable equipment during this unusual time.

“There is a need for personal protective equipment at affordable prices in Colombia. Although the focus of the company is not just PPE, that is the main focus right due to emergency and lack of supply and really high prices that we are experiencing with COVID-19.”

Like anyone else, UD athletes preparing for professional careers have to get through the annoyances brought by COVID-19 before anything else. These athletes won’t let anything stand in the way of their career goals, not even a global pandemic.

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