Winter Sports Wrap Up

Following health guidelines and experiencing hybrid learning, winter sports prevailed.


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Brook Newberry, Reporter

While winter sports this year may have looked and competed differently, the team’s competitions still took place and they accomplished their goals. 

“This year it is truly day to day. The major highlight at this point has been being able to play period,” Robert Wells, head girls basketball coach, said. “Seeing the girls work together and grow as a team is huge.”

Shawnee County has been in the uncontrolled zone of COVID-19 cases throughout the winter season, so health guideline protocols have been followed strictly to keep sports alive. With different weekly cohorts and daily practices, teams had to adjust their traditional team bonding traditions. 

“Last year we did a lot of team bonding outside of practice and games, and I miss that aspect of the season,” Abby Fleischer, sophomore girls basketball player, said. “Not being able to have many spectators has really changed the game. It feels weird walking into an empty gym.” 

Unlike previous seasons, winter sports continued with limited fans per player, masks, and daily temperature screens. With team-specific water jugs and individual hand sanitizer stations, health guidelines changed practices and gameplay. 

“Games are more about who’s the best team as opposed to the home team having an advantage due to the crowd,”  Andrew Rantz, senior boys basketball player, said. “Our team chemistry has been a lot better this year than it was last year. Darting got most of the players to buy into his philosophy and got us to a point where we feel like we can beat anyone.”

It has been a time of constant changes and adjustments to protect everyone involved. Although temperature checks and face masks seem like the new normal, winter sport athletes have adjusted to keep their season alive. 

“Playing with masks can get annoying as well, but most of the time they let us play without them,” Nathan Pewe, junior boys basketball player, said. “We’ve definitely already had some ups and downs, but we have shown our potential as a team and it’s crazy how good we can really be.”

Through all COVID-19 preventions, boys and girls wrestling has prevailed. They have adjusted by running back-to-back practices, splitting into groups, and hosting multiple practice locations every day. 

“Both our Girl’s and Boy’s Wrestling Teams won their respective UKC Championship again. This makes back-to-back titles for the girls and three-peat for the boys,” Chad Parks, head wrestling coach, said. “The girls have also won several tournaments, while the boys are 22-1 in duals and have won several tournaments.” 

The boys’ wrestling team lost dual because two of their varsity athletes were quarantined. Adapting to changes like that has helped the athletes find some silver linings. 

“In practice we wear masks and it helps my cardio,” Ty Lewis, junior wrestler, said. “So when I wrestle a match without a mask, I don’t get that tired.”