COVID-19 forces delay on winter sports

Feb. 24, 2021

By Justin Mayewski

In the midst of a pandemic, New Jersey found a way to continue high school winter sports while staying safe from Covid-19. Many schools have already opted out of this choice following Governor Murphy’s announcement that winter sports will take place. But LHS has chosen to participate in the winter scholastic sports this season. However, a lot of new safety protocols are being implemented to keep Covid-19 cases as low as possible. 

The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) is the corporation that oversees all high school sports in NJ. They have been very clear on the dates of when sports will begin as well as the required safety protocols. They are strongly enforcing the 3 W’s to the state to reduce the risk of Covid-19 cases. They are, wear your masks, watch your distance and wash your hands. Occupancy of indoor and outdoor events will be limited to only athletes, coaches, and referees. 

LHS Math teacher and indoor track coach Mr. Carucci believes that having a winter season will create a better atmosphere of normality.

“Having indoor track will definitely provide a sense of normalcy because it is another activity that we have on a yearly basis regardless of COVID,” Carucci said.

Being a teacher and a coach, safety is obviously at the top of Carucci’s mind for his students, athletes, and himself. 

“Not having spectators will make the game feel different. The energy created in the gym with all the supporters cheering is an exceptional feeling.”

“At the end of the day, any time you’re in a group it is a potential risk, regardless of the sport. But as long as athletes follow the safety guidelines set forth it should help minimize any potential risks,” Carucci said.

Indoor track is currently on the same schedule as swimming for the start and end dates. Practice can begin on Feb 1. Competitions will start on Feb 16 and finish by Mar 6. 

Sophomore basketball player Alexa Augustyniak, is excited and eager to get back on the court. 

“…Winter sports are exciting because I get to play the game I love and see my teammates,” Augustyniak said.

While Augustyniak’s love for the game is what sparks her drive, the fans are always a great bonus to add to the excitement.

“Not having spectators will make the game feel different. The energy created in the gym with all the supporters cheering is an exceptional feeling…,” Augustyniak said.

Boys and Girls Basketball has already gone to work at LHS. Practices were permitted to start on Jan 11th. Competitions will take place from Jan 26 through Mar 6. The LHS Bowling team follows this same schedule. 

Sophomore Basketball Player Isaiah Alverado, feels that the LHS Basketball team is doing a great job at following proper Covid 19 guidelines. 

“I’m not concerned about getting covid. Our team follows the rules very well so I have no concerns,” Alverado said.

Because of how well the team is attentive to the safety protocols, Alverado is also confident that it will be a successful year with very few interruptions from COVID-19. 

 “I think a few days might get delayed but overall I think we’ll have a successful season and get a lot of time to play…,” Alverado said.

The NJSIAA has implemented these dates for each sport in hopes to help stop the spread of COVID-19. 

Hockey teams have been practicing outside and virtually since Dec 14. Their games were able to begin on Jan 15 and will conclude on Mar 6. 

Wrestling, girls volleyball, and gymnastics are the 3 fall sports that did not have a season. Because of this, the NJSIAA has decided to move the sports back. Practices are set to begin on Mar 1. Competitions will begin Mar 16 and end April 24. 

There will be no state tournaments for basketball, fencing, bowling, swimming, and indoor track. However, the NJSIAA is still consulting on whether tournaments will be allowed for wrestling, gymnastics, and girl’s volleyball. 

Postseasons as of now are still on. All sports will be limited to just three matches per week and will be held without spectators. Under the NJSIAA’s new rules and regulations. 

Regardless of new safety protocols and regulations enforced on winter sports, LHS will try its best to deliver a safe and happy season. 

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