Winter Sports Begin

By Abigail Clark
EE Staff Writer ‘22

January 19th was an exciting day for athletes, as the winter sports season began. After making it through a successful and safe fall season despite the COVID-19 pandemic, athletes were eager for a new season to begin. 

This was a long awaited day for many. Due to the coronavirus, the start date for winter sports in the CIAC was pushed back multiple times. Although this was unfortunate for athletes, safety was the number one priority for healthcare and government officials. Thankfully, cases began to drop, so athletes were able to start practicing.

All teams have specific Covid precautions to keep the whole team and others around as safe as possible. Before practice, individuals must fill out a daily “Self-Screening Checklist.” Athletes must indicate that they have no symptoms of the virus and are following traveling guidelines in order to safely practice with the team. 

For indoor and outdoor sports, masks must be worn at all times, including active playing time. The only exception to this is the swimming and diving team. Even though this rule is a challenge, following these guidelines is keeping everyone safer. 

“As long as all rules are followed, our team will be putting in the work!” said senior Keira Grant, who is conditioning with the lacrosse team at this time.

Being in cohorts is another important tactic larger sports teams are using. Cohorts are made within each specific team. If someone within one of the cohorts gets the coronavirus, only the infected group has to quarantine. This allows for more of the team to stay safe and still be able to practice. Cohorts also have given athletes the opportunity to become closer with those in their group. 

Coach McCaffrey, the head coach of the girls indoor track and field team, has been organizing fun events for the girls to participate in such as a scavenger hunt. “When it comes to having a season that’s out of the ordinary, you have to think of different ways to engage your athletes and keep them happy,” McCaffrey said.

The pandemic is not the only obstacle that some teams have faced in the start of this winter season. Connecticut has been hit hard with snow! For the boys and girls indoor track teams, shoveling has become a daily part of practice. Gathering tons of shovels, the runners head up to the track to clear the area to use for practice and workouts. 

The big question for many athletes is what the competition season will look like. CIAC officials have cancelled state championships for winter sports. As far as in-state and regular season competitions go, they vary for each sport. 

According to the CIAC Winter sports plan, basketball, gymnastics, ice hockey, and swimming were able to start the competition season on February 8th, with no more than 12 regular season games or meets. 

For wrestling, cheer, and dance, “small group conditioning and non-contact skill building” is what these sports may engage in, says the approved CIAC winter sports plan.

Indoor track and field is only holding practices, as competitions for March are being considered. Virtual meets are possible for the teams, but indoor competitions are not being held due to the large number of the athletes that would be inside. 

With the many specific protocols and the competition season still being adjusted, this has been a difficult start to the winter sports season. Despite that though, teams are still able to have fun and make the best of this tough situation. 

“It’s so nice to just be able to run with my friends,” said senior Brenna Asaro, who is a member of the indoor track and field team. “Things are definitely a lot different than other years but I have gotten to the point where I am just thankful we have something.” 

All the winter sport athletes like Asaro are just happy to be back doing what they love. Unlike other years, this will not be a season will not be normal, but it will be “something.”

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