Spring sports will look different this year due to COVID-19

Boys track season is another spring sport that will be greatly affected by COVID-19. These track and field players will have to wear a mask at all times as well.

Photo submitted by Ben Wrightsman

Boys track season is another spring sport that will be greatly affected by COVID-19. These track and field players will have to wear a mask at all times as well.

With spring sports just around the corner and COVID-19 still affecting many people, athletes are allowed to play spring sports.

All of the athletes are grateful to have a season this year, yet their season will look different than past seasons.

“Things will look very different this year, but the lacrosse program is full of dedicated coaches and very adaptable players! Masks will be worn at all times by players & coaches. We will also abide by social distancing recommendations whenever live play is not going on at practice and competitions,” coach Alexandra Crofts said.

Senior Eliza Darby added she is anticipating their season will be very different from last season, she said the main differences this year are that they have to practice in pods and masks have to be worn at all times.

As for captains and coaches it will be harder to fulfill those jobs, as COVID-19 gets in the way of a regular season. 

“I think that as a captain it is going to be harder in some ways because we will not get to do some of the things we normally do during the season, and everything is so unpredictable that it is hard to know what is going to happen,” senior Allison Benning said.

“I think becoming a captain at the end of the summer was really hard. It’s been difficult to get the buy-in from the girls, because with COVID it’s easy to just stay home. Once the season picks up, I anticipate it will get easier. It’ll be weird to transition to a full season after having last year off but I think with our new coaching staff, everyone will be excited and Jacki, Annie, and I’s responsibilities as captains will get easier,” Darby added.

Team bonding is really important for these spring sports, as they don’t get a lot of time to spend with each other for safety protocols. The captain and coaches are going to work hard to make it a fun season, while still being safe.

“Captains will have a larger responsibility than in a normal season. They will be crucial for bridging the gap between the coaching staff and the team for all forms of communication and season updates. They will have to lead by example by complying with all COVID protocols and regulations at all times,” Crofts said.

Benning is looking forward to “being back and playing with my teammates, and hopefully chasing another state title,” this season.

“I’m honestly mostly looking forward to being with my teammates.  Whether that’s in practice, the weight room, or on the field, I think that one of the most important parts of sports is friendship, and it’ll be really nice to play with my friends again,” Darby said.

There may be hesitation in playing sports and congregating in groups this year more than any other year due to the ongoing pandemic. However, based on our current registration numbers, it seems like we will have around the same number of players turn out to play girls lacrosse as usual.”

— Alexandra Crofts

The mask mandate is still in motion for spring sports this season, meaning players and coaches will have to wear their  masks at all times. This might make it hard for players to condition and for coaches to communicate with each other.

“Obviously we will have to follow COVID-19 protocols as stated by the Minnesota State High School League, which include social distancing whenever possible and even possibly needing to wear masks while playing. I believe we will be required to wear masks during indoor practices which is different,” Benning said.

Crofts added that masks will be worn at all times by players and coaches this season, and that they will abide by social distancing recommendations.

With not being able to travel a lot and visit colleges, COVID-19 has made it hard for players to commit to colleges. Some players got around those obstacles very easily and are happy with where they committed to college.

“I am still undecided on college, but I have narrowed it down to either Wake Forest University, Baylor University, or University of Arizona.  It’s been difficult to make a college decision with COVID, especially because all of the schools I applied to are far away.  I visited a lot of schools in the fall of my junior year though, and this helped me get a grasp on what I was looking for,” Darby said.

Benning is “committed to play softball on scholarship at the University of Oregon,” she said she committed before COVID-19, which made it much easier for her.

Most of the spring sports get to have a regular length season, which is very lucky because most of the winter sports did not get a full season.

“We are planning on having the same amount of games that we normally would, which is super nice.  We always schedule a very difficult out-of-conference season, so being able to still play those tough games is super important for the development of the team,” Darby said.

“We have 13 games scheduled for the season, which is the same as every other season. I am very optimistic that we will have a great turnout this year based on the leadership and determination the players have conveyed to me thus far,” Crofts added.

“Captains will have a larger responsibility than in a normal season. They will be crucial for bridging the gap between the coaching staff and the team for all forms of communication and season updates. They will have to lead by example by complying with all COVID protocols and regulations at all times,” Crofts said.