Spring sports face challenges amid COVID-19 pandemic

On+Thursday%2C+March+12%2C+SUHSD+athletes+were+informed+that%2C+due+to+the+COVID-19+pandemic%2C+all+sports+competitions+between+schools+would+cease.+

Rachel McCrea

On Thursday, March 12, SUHSD athletes were informed that, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all sports competitions between schools would cease.

First, it was the NBA. Then, it was March Madness and Spring Training. 

Now, it’s the Sequoia Union High School District. 

On Thursday, student-athletes and their families received news from Principal Ralph Crame that “effective immediately, SUHSD schools are suspending interscholastic athletic gameplay as part of comprehensive efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.”

A day later, the district announced that all SUHSD schools would be making the switch to distance learning for at least two weeks, shutting down their campus facilities. Although lessons would continue online, student-athletes found themselves with no games and no practices, and their hopes for the season dashed. 

This suspension came as a shock to many athletes. 

“I heard from the coaches that practices would be canceled indefinitely, which was a pretty sudden notice,” said Nicholas Finke, a senior on Aragon High School’s varsity swim team. “I think most of the team is really disappointed since there’s no way to swim at all now.” 

Carlmont athletes shared Finke’s perspective, shocked at the suddenness of the development.  

“I don’t think anyone assumed that track was going to be canceled,” said Allie Ayers, a senior on track and field. “But then again, some of our bigger meets were already canceled before the district’s decision.”

We don’t have any meets, and we don’t know if we’re going to have any meets. So we might be practicing for nothing.”

— Fred Farley, varsity swim coach

Though the suspension of practices came as a surprise to some, it was deemed a necessary safety precaution by the district. 

“A decision like that always comes down from the superintendent,” Crame said. “We followed what private schools had done, and then we made a decision on what’s best for our students.”

Private schools in the Archdiocese of San Francisco, including Notre Dame and Serra, closed on Monday to prevent the spread of the virus. 

No one should be (on campus) for the safety of the general public and for the safety of the students (…) all activity (will stop) on site with exception to employees.”

— Principal Ralph Crame

Policies like distance learning and the suspension of sports seasons are part of efforts to “flatten the curve.”  This strategy theorizes that by slowing the spread of the virus, fewer people will be infected at once, and hospitals won’t be overloaded with more patients than they have beds for.

San Mateo County is currently implementing mitigation strategies recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) by banning gatherings of over 250 people and supporting a policy of social distancing

As school districts across the state close their campuses, teams are unsure when they will be able to continue their seasons.

“It’s a little deflating, I would think, for a swimmer to be practicing without any possibility of going to a meet,” said Fred Farley, the varsity swim coach. 

With the potential loss of an entire season, athletes are struggling to stay positive.

“It’s pretty unfortunate,” said Darius Chao, a sophomore on the junior varsity volleyball team. “Since we’re JV, we don’t play that many games, and now that these are canceled, we might end up not having many games at all throughout the whole season.”

Although they are facing a season with minimal practices and competitions, most coaches and athletes acknowledge the necessity of social distancing.

“Our coaches are being really cautious,” Chao said on Thursday, just after all competitions were suspended. “They say that if you have any symptoms of being sick, you should stay away from practice.”

While every student-athlete is affected by the cancellations, it has undoubtedly been hitting seniors the hardest. 

“It’s kind of sad because it’s my last season,” Ayers said. “I didn’t get to run cross country because I had a stress fracture, so this was my last season of high school sports, and probably my last season of running competitively.” 

Unsure of what the next few weeks will bring, Carlmont sports teams and the district at large are facing the unknown.

 

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