By Jillian Haguisan
In December, the OBHS Athletic Department announced that three Varsity winter sports--bowling, fencing, and track--would commence on January 4th.
“Everyone was very weary because of the holidays and the spike in November,” Kevin Trentowski, Director of Health, Physical Education and Athletics, shared. However, on January 4, all three sports successfully held their first practice while still following social-distancing guidelines.
Due to COVID-19, each sport had to adopt new rules and regulations. In all sports, athletes must wear masks and remain six feet apart from one another. The only exception is track, where athletes are allowed to run without a mask if they are 12 feet apart. For bowling and fencing, coaches and students must sanitize their equipment regularly, and there are also plastic shields in between bowling lanes.
Another aspect of sports that has changed drastically is meets. On January 13th, the Varsity bowling team held the season’s first meet, and on January 14th, both the Varsity Track and Varsity Fencing teams held their first meets.
Unlike previous years, track now holds virtual meets, where the Oyster Bay team races against each other. An official records each runner’s times, and different schools then post and compare their times against each other’s on Google Classroom.
Although runners are grateful to still have meets, it is certainly different than what they are used to. “It’s difficult to compete when you’re running by yourself and have no competition,” Greta Flanagan, Captain of Girls Varsity Track, said.
As for fencing, meets are still similar to what they normally were; the only major differences are that fencers cannot cheer loudly for their teammates, everyone’s seats are farther apart, and parents can no longer attend meets. To accommodate the parents, the team live-streams its home meets.
On January 16th, Girls Varsity Fencing took a major step forward for the athletic department when they departed on a bus for their first away meet.
Of course, many athletes had to miss out on opportunities due to the pandemic. The state of New York canceled counties, conferences, and states for track, and there are also no individuals or tournaments for fencing.
Head Coach of the fencing team, John Bruckner, had to resign for the 2021 season due to being in a high-risk category. “We all now want to make it to finals to make him proud,” Meghan Cox, a fencer, shares.
Despite the limitations and disappointments of COVID-19, coaches and students alike are all grateful that sports are still possible. “It’s not about what you miss; it’s about what you appreciate,” Mr. Trentowski says.
While sports look much different this year, athletes are glad to bond with their teammates and coaches and participate in any way they can. “Even if the competition is different this year,” Flanagan says, “I still find it fun and fulfilling.”
There is also a large sense of accomplishment among the athletic department for being able to plan ahead and allow sports to happen. “Is it different? Yes, but, it’s here. There’s a lot of pride because I know that [the] students want this, and because [they] want it, [they’re] making it work,” Trentowski shares.
Even though the winter season is currently staying strong, there is always the fear that it will have to stop. There is no certainty as to what the future for sports will look like, but we can only hope that things get better. As an athlete myself, I am so proud of the OBHS Athletic Department for making sports possible, and I wish the best of luck to all teams!
Photos Courtesy of Kevin Trentowski
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