Alder Finds Way To Have Fall Sports

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The golf team competes in their match against Bellefontaine.

Emma Shepherd, Sports Editor

The summer of 2020 has looked entirely different from what it usually looks like. Many fall sport’s start dates were pushed back and this affected when they could start practicing and conditioning. This made coaches unable to get their players in the gym or on the field to start prepping for their (hopeful) successful seasons. 

In June, the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) released a list of all fall contact, mid-contact and non-contact sports. These sports were listed into these categories based on how much contact is within the sport. The sports labeled as a “contact sport” had a longer dead period and had to have more restrictions and guidelines to get through, in order to compete. This ultimately pushed back summer trainings and practices for the teams. 

Only one sport was labeled as a full contact, football. The following sports were listed as mid-contact sports-Soccer, Cross Country and Volleyball. Tennis and Golf were the only sports listed as non-contact sports. 

Soccer is a close contact sport and pretty physical, so I have no issue with us being labeled a contact sport.” said Head Girls Soccer Coach Evans. “…the biggest challenge for us and all contact sports was just the unknown of our season. We have to continue to show up and prepare, but nothing [is] guaranteed…”

The soccer team plays in their match against Ridgewood.

Throughout the summer, teams usually get together to practice and train together before the season starts. This was not able to happen. A “dead period” was put in place by OHSAA which restricted coaches from seeing their team. Throughout June, that rule was lifted periodically teams that were allowed to practice, but only in groups of 10.

We had to have pods -like all other sports did so I wasn’t able to have the entire team at a practice at one time like we normally did. We had three different one hour practices in a day instead of two 90 minute practices,” said Head Boys Golf Coach Koester.

The golf team competes in their match against Bellefontaine.

Being able to have fall sports comes with its restrictions and rules. Players, coaches, fans and refs have to follow the mandates laid out by the state, OHSAA and school. One of the major differences from last year to this year is the fact that all spectators and fans have to wear a mask/facial covering and maintain a social distance. Without the cooperation of following these guidelines, Alder would not be competing today. 

Interim Athletic Director Mr. Fenik has been to many athletic events throughout this fall season. He wants to make sure that everyone is doing their part so we are able to keep going. “I ask for everyone to help keep sports going by simply following the guidelines of wearing a mask and social distancing,” said Fenik. “If that is all it takes for us to play, then I ask everyone to please, please, please do what needs to be done.”

Volleyball was also a sport that was named as a “mid-contact sport” however, as of July 2020 OHSAA and Governor Dewine declared volleyball to be a non-contact sport. This opened up many opportunities for volleyball teams across Ohio to get back to a more normal practice.

The volleyball team gathers in a timeout during their game against Kenton Ridge.

Head Girls Volleyball Coach Joe Ross was excited about the switch to get back into the gym and make up for lost time from earlier in the summer. “…this was actually a positive for us. Switching to noncontact allowed us to get back into volleyball specific drills a little faster to prepare to start our season,” said Ross. 

All teams have to abide by the state rules of wearing facial masks on the bus, into school buildings and during games when they are not in the feild/court of play. This means when a player subs out or comes off the field/court they have to put a mask on. “…it is important that we follow the guidelines laid out by the school, state and OHSAA so we are able to keep playing.” said Coach Evans.

As the fall season is approaching the home stretch, questions about winter sports are being brought up. “I’m not sure what the winter season will bring but I am optimistic that it will happen.” said Mr. Fenik