Athletes Struggling with Uncertainty Surrounding Season

With the ICCSD district’s switch to 100% online education, all in-person sports and extracurricular activities were suspended. With that, a different batch of sports teams were forced to figure out how to keep their players fit enough to achieve their goals this season while not being able to meet with them


Rachel Marsh

More and more public basketball courts are found empty with temperatures dropping and cases rising. Like this one, more home courts and nets are being used.

Rachel Marsh, Photo Editor

One email can take away two weeks of the sports season for City High athletes. Multiple emails can take away the entire season. All saying the same thing, canceled, postponed, all due to COVID. Parts of the season were already lost during the summer and fall sports, and now it’s happening again, this time for the winter sports. 

Obviously I’m not excited that we have two weeks online because that means we are missing out on valuable practice time but, I get that cases are rising and a lot of schools are going online as well,” said Kolby Kucera ‘21.

The impending winter season makes finding ways to stay in shape over the online period more difficult than in the past seasons since it is harder for athletes to practice outside. 

Winter sports consist of basketball, wrestling, boys swimming, and bowling. So far, the bowling team has announced that over the suspension period, they want their players to practice on their own. Their meets and practices have been postponed until the district returns to the hybrid model.  

“Our coach wants us to practice on our own time even though that might be difficult now because the bowling alley is getting closer and closer to closing due to COVID,” Nile Franz ‘22 said.

The boys and girls basketball teams were holding open gym sessions at City High prior to going online. Getting the playing time up and getting back in shape is a high priority if they want to have the season that meets their goal of state, according to girls Head Coach Bill McTaggart. 

The suspended season is very frustrating because we have a lot of work to do.  We are at a disadvantage because some teams in our state can still practice,” McTaggart said.

The boys team, which is in the exact same boat, has not shifted their goal either. All eyes are on state, the one game in Wells Fargo Arena that is the cherry on top of a good season. The boys varsity team has multisport athletes Kucera, Andre Miller ‘21 and Raphael Hamilton ‘21 as well as Keyoun Agee ‘21 and Luke Young ‘21. 

“My goal for this team is for us to do our very best no matter how much COVID-19 takes away from us. However many practices and games we get to play, I want our team to do the best with what we get,” Kucera said.

The boys team does zoom workouts, and the players are told to condition on their own. Girls basketball is doing zoom workouts as well, led by Coach Casey, with strength and conditioning. After losing at the state game last year, the girls are hungrier than ever for that state title. Their team is full of players like Kelsey Joens ‘23, following in her sisters footsteps, multisport athlete Georgia Kimm ‘22 and high scorer Eviyon Richardson ‘22.

When I first heard we were going online I was disappointed because I knew how hard our team had been working for this season,” Kucera said. “I already saw the challenges during football of not being able to practice together and I didn’t want to go through that again. However, I also thought about how it’s probably the right thing to do right now and our team is just going to have to deal with it.”

With the suspension comes a lot of emotion for those looking forward to their last season, their first season, getting scouted or just being on a team. As the events of 2020 continue piling on top of each other, some see sports as an escape from reality.

“I came out this year because I wouldn’t want to spend this winter doing anything else. I love the sport and my team. The biggest difference this year is the constant uncertainty of whether we will even play or not,” Miller said.

Wrestling, on the other hand, was supposed to have their first practice on November 16, which ended up being the first day of the return to online school. Back in February, Ben Keuter ‘22  earned a state title in his 160 weight class. Keuter is also joined by multisport athlete Gable Mitchell ‘22, grandson of national champion wrestler Dan Gable. The team hopes to have a competitive season despite the challenges. 

Boys swimming had their first practice on November 9, completing one week of practice before school switched to 100% online learning. With weekly meets, the online period is taking away from their competition season. Over the online period, the coaches have given the swimmers workout groups with a point system to keep them motivated to do the workouts. Those in swim clubs, swim at club practices, and others schedule time to swim whenever they can. 

“I miss the team, it’s really fun to see everyone and swim with them, but I think if we all just do our best to continue to practice apart from each other, we could really improve as a team,” John Weigel ‘23 said.

Throughout it all, sports remain a very important part of a number of people’s lives. With decisions and case numbers changing on the daily, the rest of the winter sports season remains uncertain.

I would tell people that there is light at the end of the tunnel due to good news about the vaccine. We just need to hang in there and keep on [going],” principal John Bacon said.