Expectations for Winter Sports

City High boy’s bowling and wrestling coaches discuss their expectations for the rest of the winter sports season


Sophia Lusala

Seth Hiatt ’21 driving a ball down lane one during meet against Western Dubuque in December 2019.

Emily Martinez, Culture Editor

COVID-19 has become one of the most notorious subjects affecting everyone’s lives. This winter sports season, City High bowling and wrestling coaches have found it difficult to transition their athletes to the new season due to the pandemic.

“We were not able to do the training we normally do in the spring and summer,” Cory Connell, City High’s Boys Wrestling coach said. “Local, regional, and national tournaments that some of our wrestlers would have competed at [were canceled]. Some kids are concerned about [COVID-19] and haven’t wrestled, lifted, gone out for other sports, or worked out as much as they usually do. We have had a couple of guys that have chosen not to go out for wrestling [because of COVID-19].”

The uncertainty of whether or not sports practices will continue or remain canceled forces coaches to adjust their coaching strategies overall.

“My favorite part of wrestling is getting in the wrestling room, building relationships, and developing the team to be better!” Connell said. “Without being able to go into a wrestling room with them and see them in person it has been really tough.”

The delay of practices has caused many difficulties for coaches and athletes as well.

“We were only able to complete one week of regular practice,” Mike Degner, City High’s boys bowling coach, said. “I think it will be hard for our bowlers to overcome a layoff, but I do think our bowlers have prepared previously by participating in the youth league.”

It has become a challenge for coaches to keep track of their athletes’ progress and concerns while also preparing for the possible continuation of the winter sports season.

“[It has become very important] to be in constant contact with our athletes and our host bowling center,” Degner said. “[Since] we are not able to be on the lanes we [mainly] communicate through social media and the coaching staff emails training skill videos to the athletes to view and practice on their own.”

Keeping in contact with athletes using platforms such as Zoom and through emails has made the process easier for coaches and athletes to effectively communicate as well.

“I have communicated with the wrestlers as much as I can through text messages, Zoom, emails, etc,” Connell said. “I have stressed to them that they have to take responsibility for their own greatness!”

Safety precautions been a concern for many of the athletes and coaches.

“I believe it is safe for the athletes to practice on their own at this time and we will resume regular practices according to school district policy,” Degner said. “Masks will be worn 100% of the time, social distancing when possible [if practices continue].”

In order to effectively continue the winter sports season, COVID-19 rates would have to drop down to 15% and proper cleaning precautions would have to be enforced by coaches during practices.

“I think if coaches, wrestlers, and AD’s are smart about how we move forward we could safely [return to practices]. It was done well in the summer and fall,” Connell said.

Having to adjust to the uncertainty this winter sports season has become essential to adapting to the continuous changes COVID-19 has brought to both coaches and athletes this year.

“Keeping [athletes] focused on the things that they can control [has helped],” Connell said. “We have a young team and I just want to get in the wrestling room and help them develop as much as I can!”