New hope for WHS sports as COVID restrictions lighten

Emily Matthews/Post-Gazette
Sign encourages social distancing at a sporting event (Emily Matthews/Post-Gazette)

This year, athletics at WHS are a bit different. Due to COVID-19, the school board decided to take extra precautions to ensure the safety of student athletes and coaches. However, some restrictions have been loosened on outdoor sports by Governor Newsom and the State Government of California. 

Because sports were postponed until February of this year, the fall, winter and spring sports were combined into two seasons instead of three. Season 1 sports began on March 1st and they include: Boys/Girls Cross Country, Boys/Girls Swimming, Boys Tennis, Girls Golf, Girls Lacrosse, and Football. Season 2 sports will begin on April 19th and will include: Boys/Girls Soccer, Boys/Girls Track, Boys/Girls Water Polo, Boys Golf, Boys Lacrosse, Girls Tennis, Cheer, Baseball, and Softball. Some sports that will be reevaluated at a later date are Badminton, Boys/Girls Basketball, Boys/Girls Volleyball, and Wrestling. 

Many people can be confused by how these conditioning pods actually function. We contacted Ms. Quezada to help us understand these pods better. “Conditioning Pods offer our student-athletes a chance to come on campus and interact with their fellow potential teammates and coaches,” she said. “They are similar to what is usually offered during the regular school year as ‘open field,’ but due to COVID and all the guidelines that we have to follow as a district and because our county was in the purple until recently that ‘open field’ had to be modified to very basic conditioning for the sports. It allowed our student-athletes a chance to also just start moving and getting physically active and a step in getting them ready for the upcoming sport seasons.”  Organizing which sports can or cannot be played was a bit difficult as precautions for COVID were still active. However, since these precautions are becoming more lenient, more sports are becoming open to students. Ms. Quezada notes that “A google sign up form is put together and students indicate which sport they would like to participate in (they can only participate in one pod per cycle/round – each round lasts for three weeks). The form was sent out in Principal Moran‘s weekly update emails, and recently I have posted it on the news feed on School Loop and on the WHS Athletics page.” Students must submit the first time they participate in pods, have parents/guardians fill out a daily on-line screening, and have temperatures taken upon arrival to campus in order to participate in their conditioning pod.

Daily online screening for parents of athletes in conditioning pods

We spoke to a student athlete, Adam Birt, about his experience practicing with COVID precautions. Due to the precautions, a lot has changed. “Our practices are completely different. Instead of going to the baseball field and practicing for 3-4 hours we have been going to the outside basketball courts to do a 45 minute sprint workout because we are not allowed to practice on the field yet.” When asked whether he was satisfied with the way practices are set up, he said “Yes I am. I’m still allowed to see my teammates and coach and we get to do something but I of course want to go back to practicing on a field.”  When practicing, COVID isn’t really a concern. “Yes I feel completely safe,” he said. “We all wear our masks the whole time and we practice social distancing as well.”  

Season 2 sports have started practicing with gear as of March 15th, but games will not begin until April 19th.

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