Athletes Jump Into New Sports Season

After FCPS student-athletes’ long break from school sports and their preparation for the next season, they are ready for tryouts, permitting the Virginia High School League (VHSL) grants them permission.

The girls’ basketball team at tryouts. Photo courtesy of Sydney Carey.

The girls’ basketball team has been doing green day practices on the outdoor basketball courts every Wednesday for the past three months. The VHSL granted permission for tryouts, December 7-9. “I am a little nervous for tryouts,” said freshman Kelsie Chang, “but I have been practicing for a really long time, so I think that I am ready.” 

The VHSL policy of allowing teams to start having green days in the fall has given athletes more time to prepare and practice. Going to green days also gives freshmen the opportunity to see if the team is a good fit for them and to make new friends. “I have really enjoyed meeting new people,” said Chang. 

Woodson’s swim team is also finding a balance between training and staying safe. 

Senior boys team captain Eric Lundgren is excited for the season to begin, but is concerned about safety. “I would feel a lot better if I [were] able to keep my mask on, but with swimming, that’s not remotely possible,” he said. Lundgren practiced with his club team over the summer, but his club team is much smaller than the school team, and CDC guidelines have “definitely made it harder to have big groups” in the pool at once, he added.

Swim team participating in yellow days. Photo courtesy of Coach Stephanie Pollack. 

Senior girls captain Emilee Ferrari attended yellow days (socially-distant off-season practices), but the team was not allowed in the pool and could only do dry land exercises. “It is a bit nerve-wracking thinking that one case could end our season,” she said, “but we know what precautions we have to take to keep everyone safe.”  Still, Ferrari is excited to return to the pool as the season commences.

Recent social distancing restrictions implemented by Governor Northam are not affecting the swim team, as the ReCenters are still open (as of mid-December). However, team members and coaches will do everything they can to keep their sport safe. If the swim team became unable to have in-person practices, they would most likely host “virtual workouts just to keep team spirit high and to keep everyone in shape,” according to Lundgren. 

Ferrari believes that a transition to virtual practices due to rising cases will be inconvenient, but valuable nevertheless. However, a rise in cases would set the team back as they can only stay in shape, not actually practice swimming. “Because swimming focuses on lots of different elements, there are lots of different exercises that can be done [at home],” she said.