Sports Are Back!

Basketball tryouts were the first to occur all year starting on December 7 and all other winter sports return on December 14.

Basketball marks the return of sports to LCPS, with players coming back to new guidelines and an empty gym.

DHS Press Staff

Basketball marks the return of sports to LCPS, with players coming back to new guidelines and an empty gym.

On December 7 the first tryouts of the school year began with basketball marking a return to a sense of normalcy for student-athletes. The winter sports are set to take place between December and late February, with basketball tryouts being the first on the docket. The other winter sports tryouts will be held a week later on December 14.

While some districts, including Richmond Public Schools and Henrico County have cancelled winter sports and Arlington has cancelled wrestling, Loudoun is moving forward with every sport.

With stricter rules for each sport, wrestling will see a large impact for practice as LCPS guidelines limits the number of people inside the wrestling room for practice at four wrestlers. Wrestling head coach Billy Young said, “We need to wrestle for our hearts and souls. Our guys have been working hard almost every day for years to be successful.  I feel it’s time for all the hard work to get rewarded.”

Athletic director Dwayne Peters said, “There’s a safe way to do it because the colleges are doing it, pros are doing it, so I don’t see why we can’t do it.” All 17 high schools have been working closely together to plan out how the athletes will be coming back and how everything will work in harmony with the pandemic guidelines. 

Boys basketball head coach Anthony Eifler is guessing that the practice schedules will be “fairly similar to our traditional schedule.” Although he says that the time slots will be shortened, usually the varsity team has about two hours but now they are looking at an hour and a half so that they can get more people in with still having time to sanitize. 

In order to keep the athletes and staff safe, in the case that a student (or staff member) tests positive for COVID, Peters said, “Once I would get informed, or my athletic trainer gets informed, we would have to contact Dr. Brewer, he will be notified, we will have to notify the Loudoun County Public Schools athletic department, and Loudoun County Department of Health. All the athletes that have been you know, around that person probably have to go in quarantine for 14 days.” 

Peters goes on to say that it could shut down the team for a while, and that they do take attendance of who’s there, who’s around them, so there are some steps in place to keep students and staff safe. 

Although all the precautions are set in place, there were and still are numerous challenges in terms of scheduling. Peters said with all of the restrictions and time constraints that there would be shortened seasons. Instead of getting basketball getting 22 games in, they’re getting 14. Wrestling instead of getting 12 matches in they’re getting 10 wrestling matches.

We need to wrestle for our hearts and souls.

— Wrestling Coach Billy Young

Swimming has only six meets scheduled as of December 8 on the Athletics Website. None of their opponents are listed.  Gymnastics has seven scheduled with only the 1/9 meet against Park View having an opponent. Indoor Track has just four meets scheduled.

The first games of the winter are scheduled for December 21 with basketball taking on Loudoun County, with the girls at home and the boys traveling for the first away game of the year.

Preventions will be enforced before athletes begin their practices or attending games to ensure that they are healthy. A lot of it relies on the athlete’s individual honesty.

Eifler also mentions the importance that individual honesty has on the season. “If a kid is going to lie about how they’re feeling, and fill out that form, and then you’re inside and you’re coughing, you got to go. At that point, you’re not only putting the rest of us in danger immediately, but you’re putting the season both for LCPS and division at risk there,” he said.

Fans and family won’t be allowed in the gym during games. However, Peters did share a solution for this issue, “We were fortunate in the gym and in our outside stadium to now have what they call the NFHS interlock cameras where all the games can be viewed live streamed live at home, so in case they don’t allow people and fans in the stands, the games are going on and you will still be able to see them on a live stream video.” 

Eifler said he missed “just being around the guys we’re all just sort of wanting that sense of normalcy. I love being around our guys a lot of sort of cutting it up with them and sharing that sort of camaraderie and team building that comes with high school sports and team sports.”