Heritage Sports during COVID-19

Dealing with restrictions due to COVID-19 is difficult in and of itself, let alone practicing sports that involve contact. Here at Heritage girls volleyball, cheerleading, cross country, football, boys soccer, and boys basketball all have been working hard and improving while following such guidelines. Captains responded to how they are doing so in the following interviews. Written by Maddie McEvoy ’21 and Laura Bogard ’21.

Girls volleyball captains for the 2020-2021 season are Makiah Johnson ‘21 and Laural Pittman ‘21. Upon being asked what they are most looking forward to during the school year, Johnson said, “I think I’m most excited for prom and graduation.” Since Covid the players have had restrictions while practicing, Johnson explained, “We have to have hand sanitizers, with seven players per coach, but we have two coaches so we can do fourteen. We wear masks as well but they can be put down while playing. We are allowed to touch the same ball so luckily there aren’t restrictions on that.” Johnson is going into this upcoming season with a determined and positive mindset. She goes on to say that the team has been practicing the whole summer, struggling a bit in the beginning but have worked out the issues due to COVID-19.

Concerning the start of games she said, “We still will have games with other private schools but I’m not sure about guidelines for public schools.” Normally when playing, the girls are under a lot of pressure, not only from the game, but the audience as well. Now with Covid there will be no audience to cheer them on, Johnson stated, “I think it could go either way with the absence of an audience, they hype players up but it can also take away the nerves but personally I think having a crowd there is beneficial.” Johnson stated that the best part about competing is coming together as a team, while feeling accomplished when  all the hard work pays off. Johnson wanted to shoutout Kailani Jones for her hard work and dedication to the team this season. 

There are not elected captains yet for the 2020-2021 varsity cheerleading team, so seniors Kenya Gorsline ‘21 and Tyler Smith ‘21 have given their input on practice. Gorsline and Smith both are looking forward to the upcoming senior year and being with their beloved friends back on campus. Cheer’s restrictions are that the team cannot stunt because of the close vicinity that is required, but with masks on at all times the team is able to dance, cheer, and condition. Gorsline says, “This year’s season will probably consist of a lot of dancing and cheering. I do not expect that this year we will be competing at any competitions, but hopefully it will be possible.” Smith responded when asked about the effect of no crowd, “The audience certainly makes games more fun and energetic, but as a team we will try to make the best of it. Focusing on hyping up the players to perform their best.” Smith said her favorite part of competing is the unity it brings to the already family-like team, Gorsline adds for her it is the ability to see when all the stunts hit while in the air and sense of accomplishment that comes with it. Smith would like to highlight Brielle Boeckman ‘24, congratulating her on making varsity as a freshman and catching on so quickly. 

Cross Country began practice at the beginning of summer and has not stopped since then. Cross Country does not have any chosen captains, so those interviewed were Anthony Nucciteli ‘21, John Leavitt ‘21, and Dylan Brown ‘21. Runners restrictions are standard, the team is expected to maintain social distancing of eight feet and keep masks on while they are not active. When asked how they expect the cross country season to play out, Brown responded, “We are hopeful and ready to have a great season. I am sure we are going to perform well when the time comes.” These seniors are thankful that having an audience is not a factor that affects the way the team performs. 

Football has gone back to practicing with new head coach Mr. Huff, he selected Jayden Monick ‘21, Isaiah Maynard ‘21, and Isaac Phe ‘22 to represent the HCS football team. To start off Monick, Maynard, and Phe all are excited to return to school in person and kick off the football season. The football team’s restrictions, like most sports, include masks and social distancing which negatively affects valuable practice time because it is a high contact sport. Upon being asked how the football season is expected to play out, Monick responded, “I have high hopes for this year. With a new coach and coaching staff the way we play will be different this year. The team will be even more physical and disciplined than ever before.” He is confident that this year the team will win the championship this year, while Maynard and Phe also are hopeful to make it to the playoffs. Phe and Monick are in agreement that the lack of fans will not strongly affect the team’s performance, while Maynard stated, “If there is no crowd, I think it will affect our performance due to the fact the fans bring us energy to get us hype.” Phe shared that in his opinion the best part of competing is, “the fact that you get to reach a common goal, to win the game. Competition helps me become a better person on and off the field,” Monick also added, “You get the opportunity to forget stressors in your life. Football is controlled anger. It pushes me past my limits in strength and speed.” Finally, Monick would like to shoutout John Ordonez ‘22 for working incredibly hard as an outside linebacker and tells HCS to watch out for a big hit from Ordonez.  Phe and Maynard shouted out their fellow teammate Jayden Monick, but Phe also would like to highlight Robert Burns ‘23 and Angel Fernandez ‘21 expecting great touchdowns from the two. 

Erick Martinez 21’ shared his view on his last year of  soccer practice. Martinez stated that he was looking forward to senior ditch day this year. He went on to say that as a whole team they can practice but many of the players find it difficult to attend the practices. Due to COVID the players are not allowed to have physical contact and must stay six feet apart while wearing masks, only while running masks are acceptable to take off. In response to how their season will play out Martinez says “ It will be very different from last year, we are hopeful that we will do well, but the lack of practice may negatively affect the way we play”. He goes on to say that without an audience it will cause the team to be less distracted and more focused on the game. Martinez believes that the best part about competing is the feeling of confidence and victory. He would like to shout out Jonathan Velasquez’22 for his hard work and dedication to the team.

The varsity basketball team captains for the 2020-21 school year are Kyle Frelow ‘21, Justin Rochelin ‘21, and Nehemiah Gilliam ‘21. Frelow and Rochelin were able to give their opinion on this year’s different and new practices. These captains are excited to get back to normal, being with everyone in their final year of high school, and for senior activities. The team’s restrictions are similar to other sports, with only two to three people per workout sessions. When asked how they predict the season will go, both simply stated, “We hope to go far.” The captain’s hope that in the case crowds are prohibited it will not have a strong effect on the players, but at the same time fans bring energy and hype. Both Frelow and Rochelin think the best part of competing is having each other on the court, feeding off each other’s energy, and working towards the win. The team shoutout goes to Malik Moore ‘22, Frelow and Rochelin are both proud that he has started dunking, getting recruited, and his whole game is improving. 

After reading about the challenging seasons these teams have faced, please come support and encourage these hard working athletes if possible, in this upcoming year.

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