Covid-19 Affects Freshmen Fall Sports Season

A recap on how freshmen had to adjust to the protocols due to the virus during their fall season


Vito DeVito field: Foran High School football field. Photo courtesy: Lauren Ardolino, November 6, 2020.

Tori Matula and Lauren Ardolino

     Covid-19 is an ongoing pandemic that has affected many students, especially freshmen during their fall sports season. These freshmen had a different experience compared to upperclassmen due to the virus. They had to adjust to many safety regulations, producing an abnormal season.

     Being a freshman in a new high school can be scary for younger students.  A bigger school, new people, new teachers, and an unfamiliar environment can all seem overwhelming. And with the virus circulating, it has had even more of an effect on the students and staff. Along with the incoming freshmens’ unfamiliarity with the school, they are faced with the challenges of having to adjust to the protocols of Covid-19.

     With fall being the first sports season during the pandemic, each sport has been making adjustments to fit the needs of safety while also allowing students to have a season. Especially with the freshmen being new to the school, it has been even more challenging for them to adapt to the precautions. For example, the volleyball team has had to wear a mask at all times because it is indoors. Soccer athletes have to wear a mask when they are on the bench and maintain social distancing. Football is only allowed to have practices and 7 v. 7 scrimmages, and all coaches and referees must wear a mask.

     Coach of the boys cross country team and health teacher, Mr.  Jeffrey Raucci says, “ I have been blown away by the resilience of freshmen and how they adapted to the fall sports season with all the precautions, regulations, protocols, and different circumstances that they are practicing and competing under.” It has made coaching even more enjoyable and the team has created positive camaraderie throughout the season. 

     Raucci, proud of his athletes, says that adjusting to the pre-season practices was difficult due to the cohorts of 10 and training sessions under an hour. He explains that “the resiliency of these student-athletes and how they came together as one when we got the ‘ok’ to practice as a full team has left me speechless.” Their team was able to quickly form friendships and create positive relationships with one another which led them to having a successful team. 

     Izze Fallon, a new member of the girls soccer team, has had a first hand perspective on what it’s like being a new athlete during the pandemic. Fallon states, ¨Covid-19 has affected our sports season by minimizing the team bonding opportunities and activities off the field.¨ Fallon also says, ¨I wish that we did not have to play restricted soccer and follow all of the new rules. High school sports teams are different from other teams I’ve played on because upperclassmen help me achieve new goals, and push myself to do the best I can.¨ Covid-19 has made Fallon’s freshman year one that she will not forget.

     One of the captains on the girls soccer team, Anna Byers, had a very different freshman year in comparison to the class of 2024. Byers states, ¨Obviously my freshman year, there was not a global pandemic happening. We practiced with the full team from the beginning and didn’t have to worry about cohorts, masks or staying 6 feet apart from each other. The pandemic definitely made the transition for the freshman this year a lot more interesting and probably more difficult than my freshman year.” Byers has led the team, and the new lower classmen through the soccer season, and has responsibly followed the new protocols.

     Emma Honcz, a freshman this year on the girls volleyball team, gave some insight as to how she thinks the pandemic has affected her first volleyball season. Honcz says, “Once games began, I realized how different Covid-19 has caused the season to be. Whether it was playing with masks, no spectators, or sitting six feet from my teammates, it truly put into perspective how lucky we were to even be playing.” Being a freshman, even without Covid, she states that she did not know what to expect and could tell all the girls were nervous in the beginning. Honcz claims, “High school sports is different to other sports teams I’ve played on because I am playing with mixed grade levels and forming bonds with them which is something I had a small amount of experience with in other sports outside of high school.” 

     The class of 2024 has experienced some hardships with this year’s fall sports season by having to follow safety protocols. It is hard enough being the new kids at a new school but the freshmen were able to adjust to their season in order to make up for what they lost. Despite the precautions that needed to be made, the freshmen were able to handle it and it has helped teams create stronger bonds with one another, creating more cohesive teams in the process.