A look on the effect of Coronavirus on fall sports

Connely KIlgore — Volleyball

Dance

Dance captain senior Lucy Wolstenholm has loved dance since she was 4 years old and has pursued it throughout her high school career.

“I have loved how involved I feel in the school,” Wolstenholm said. “Getting to be in front of people doing what I love is such a rush.” 

Once the coronavirus hit, the Tigerettes had to hault in-person rehearsals, but that didn’t stop them from working.

“We were Zooming to keep practices going,” Wolstenholm said. “Luckily, we are back in the school getting practice done in person.”

The Tigerettes wear face masks and socially distance during practice and games due to COVID-19 regulations.

“The idea of not being able to dance for the high school again really affected me,” Wolstenholm said. “When I heard that we get to dance again at games, I was overjoyed.”

As a dance captain, Wolstenholm said she is most excited for all the performances the Tigerettes will have this year.

“The atmosphere of dance team is constant hard work and striving to be our best,” she said. “Our energy is unmatchable. I feel honored to be [a] dance captain this year. My biggest goal is to just lead the team the best I can and make sure we have an amazing year safely.”


Volleyball

Sophomore Connelly Kilgore said her second year on varsity volleyball has been different. 

“We have to wear masks in the hallways [and] getting water,” Kilgore said. 

After having two weeks off, they resumed daily practices and played several games.

“You can’t high five the other team or have contact with them, so we’ll wave at the beginning and end of the game,” she said.

Private schools outside of the district require masks while playing. However, Blue Valley schools only enforce it  on the bench.

One of the biggest disappointments for Kilgore this year is missing out on a lot of team bonding. 

“Traditionally, at the beginning of the year, we’ll do sand tournaments,” Kilgore said. “We will come before practice a little early just to talk so we stay connected as a team.”

Due to COVID-19, Substate was reorganized so teams don’t have to travel as far. 

“I’m just happy to play — I think everyone is,” Kilgore said.


Football

Football captain senior Andy Simeroth is in his fourth and final season for the Tigers. 

The team has had to make several adjustments.

“We have to wear a mask under our helmets during practice and games,” Simeroth said. “Games are really different because we have to be spread out, and each person has a spot to stand in on the sidelines.” 

Although the team is beyond thankful to get to play this year, they wish the roaring crowd was still behind them. 

“I hope eventually we can have a student section, even if that means only a limited number of people can come,” Simeroth said. 

Unfortunately, Simeroth’s season took a turn when he was placed in the hospital for health conditions. 

After two weeks of being in the hospital with support from his teammates, Simeroth was happy to be released.

“It feels amazing to be back even though I can’t play football anymore,” Simeroth said. “It feels good to support my team at practice and games.”


Soccer

Senior Kobee Austria has been on the varsity boys soccer team since sophomore year. His last season will be different from previous ones because of concerns over COVID-19. 

The first game of the season was on Sept. 11, winning against Blue Valley North 5-1. The last regular season game was Oct. 20.

Despite coronavirus restrictions, Austria said “six out of the seven days, we are playing soccer.”

COVID-19 regulations in place include temperature checks and wearing masks when not doing drills. Masks aren’t required during games.

“Practices are structured very similar to pre-COVID since soccer isn’t a high-risk sport,” Austria said. 

The largest difference to the boys soccer season is the games.  

“Only household members are allowed to attend — they have to fill out a Google Form,” he said. “It impacts the team’s energy and mentality. Celebrating with the student section is what I’ll miss most.”


Tennis

Senior Kobee Austria has been on the varsity boys soccer team since sophomore year. His last season will be different from previous ones because of concerns over COVID-19. 

The first game of the season was on Sept. 11, winning against Blue Valley North 5-1. The last regular season game was Oct. 20.

Despite coronavirus restrictions, Austria said “six out of the seven days, we are playing soccer.”

COVID-19 regulations in place include temperature checks and wearing masks when not doing drills. Masks aren’t required during games.

“Practices are structured very similar to pre-COVID since soccer isn’t a high-risk sport,” Austria said. 

The largest difference to the boys soccer season is the games.  

“Only household members are allowed to attend — they have to fill out a Google Form,” he said. “It impacts the team’s energy and mentality. Celebrating with the student section is what I’ll miss most.”


Cross Country

Junior Ella Mills, a varsity cross country runner, looks forward to her third season with the team.

The cross country coaches and runners take social distancing seriously to keep each other safe.

“During warm ups and stretching, we keep our masks on,” Mills said. “When we run off campus, we can take them off.”

During cross country meets, rules for the runners vary depending on the school but continue to keep the athletes’ health a priority.

“Most schools have us wear masks for 400 meters, and then we can take it off and put it on right when we cross the finish line,” she said.

Although COVID regulations make practices and meets more difficult, the cross country runners are willing to abide by the rules in order to stay safe and continue with the season.

“We don’t want to be the sport that gets everyone else’s sport taken away,” Mills said. “[State] is going to be different, but it’ll be fun,” Mills said. “I just hope everyone stays safe, and no one gets COVID.”


Golf

Junior Lea Shamblin’s golf season is playing out differently from past years.

“The season is so much shorter — we have less tournaments and are only playing with teams in the EKL,” Shamblin said. 

Despite continuing to play golf, many changes have been made in order to ensure the safety of students. 

“We have to wear masks anytime we are around each other and the other coaches,” she said. “I have been wearing a mask as often as I can because if one of [the players] gets corona, we all have to quarantine.” 

The various precautions are set in place to help as much as possible; however, some rules may seem unnecessary due to the low-risk nature of the sport.

“Me and some of my teammates were disappointed that we didn’t get bags even though it is a part of our uniforms,” Shamblin said. “I also find it a little pointless that we only have to wear masks on the first hole but not anywhere else.”

Shamblin said the team hasn’t been able to do as many team bonding activities as they used to.

“So far it’s been a great season, and we’ve all become really close,” Shamblin said. “I hope next year everything will be back to normal so the incoming freshman will get to experience golf how it really is.”


Cheer

Four years ago cheer captain senior Olivia Spratley joined the team after seeing the group’s atmosphere.

“Not only did I see the success they had accomplished, but I also saw how much people looked up to them and [the] family aspect,” Spratley said.

She was saddened when she thought her senior season was going to be cut short.

“I was very disappointed that there may have never been a chance I would cheer a game again, and all my ‘lasts’ may have not happened,” Spratley said.

The team cannot stunt with the current gating criteria, and they must perform in the confines of the BV campuses.

“We were supposed to go to Florida for Nationals,” Spratley said. “All of our competitions are virtual now.”

Despite setbacks of COVID-19, Spratley hopes to create opportunities for her teammates.

“I hope to be remembered as someone people could always come to, cheer related or not,” she said.