Winter Athletes Adjust to COVID 19

Winter Athletes Adjust to COVID 19

Elizabeth Casey, Staff Writer

Students will be returning to school to begin practices for winter sports after having spent nine months away during the pandemic. This year, there are various new restrictions regarding how students will practice and compete in order to keep the community safe from exposure to the coronavirus. 


Athletes and administrators are hopeful that winter sports athletes will be able to finish their seasons without interference despite the continued rise in cases in Virginia. Practices are being regulated by mask, distancing, and contact protocols to keep students safe and restrict any possible spread of the virus. 


“I’m not sure how the season will go out,” indoor track athlete Sneha Manehswari said. “I feel like if we are able to be safe the first couple weeks, we will be good for the rest of the season, but if not, we might cancel the season.”


Another concern for athletes this year is being able to prepare for competitions in time with less practices to train and a shorter season. Many teams, including the varsity gymnastics team, only have two weeks to perfect their routines before their first meet. 


“To prepare for competitions I’m going to have all my routines planned out before practice begins so I can just focus on skills and not logistics,” Co-captain of the varsity gymnastics team, Alexa Williams, said. 


A major change for Loudoun County’s winter sports this year is that athletic events will have no spectators to minimize the risk of COVID as much as possible. Many parents and students are disappointed, that there will not be an audience to support the competitors. 


“Parents want to see their children play and I hope very quickly we are back to being able to have spectators,” Principal Timothy Flynn, said. 


However, there has been a new system put in place on the playing fields and the gymnasiums that would record games and meets for family and friends to watch. 


Regardless of the many changes and restrictions that athletes will experience this year, many are still optimistic for a great season and have begun to set goals for themselves and their teams. 


“My goals are to stay in shape for college and I’d like to make States again,” swimmer Molly Kennedy said. “I have made it to States every year and since this is my senior year it would mean a lot to go back.”


Basketball tryouts began Dec. 7 while the rest of winter sports will start tryouts on Dec. 14. Girls and boys basketball have their first game on Dec. 21, gymnastics has their first meet Dec. 29, wrestling’s first match is Dec. 30, the swim team’s first meet is Jan. 2, and indoor track has their first race on Jan. 9.