by Aidan Lieberman, Sports Reporter, Zach Rhein, Sports Contributor & Clare Tourtelotte, Sports Reporter
photo contributed by Shanna Lacey
*Records are as of Feb. 5 and are in the form: [win-loss-tie.] NG denotes no game due to a COVID-19 postponement.
Girls Gymnastics [1-1-0]
Gymnastics, like many other sports this year, has used virtual platforms for competitions. The team then records routines that are later uploaded to YouTube, captain senior Shanna Lacey said.
To limit the numbers at meets, teams compete separately at their respective schools. The judge sends the scores to the teams, and they find out the results days later, Lacey said.
Lacey said the team is facing obstacles beyond just dealing with COVID-19-related changes.
“We have a good amount of people who are injured right now, so it’s been hard,” she said. “We aren’t at our fullest potential quite yet.”
The team is finding creative ways to build community, Lacey said.
“We’ll have themes. We had ‘Themed Thursdays,’ which is like how in school if you had a meet you would come to school in spirit. So a theme could be USA, or tourist, or camo or tie dye,” she said.
Overall, the gymnastics team is happy to have won their first meet of the season and is looking forward to the rest of the season.
“I wasn’t really going into the season with many expectations,” she said. “I just went into the season with an open mind.”
Swim & Dive [G: 2-3-0; B: 3-3-0]
The swim and dive team has stayed afloat this year with virtual meets, allowing teams to compete safely from their own schools.
“We swim on different days than the opposing team, so we don’t know who wins immediately after the meet,” captain senior Topher Fitzpatrick said.
The MIAA guidelines allow a maximum of four swimmers per lane, two on each side. Swimmers and divers are allowed to take their masks off for events, but they must put them on them as soon as they exit the pool.
“From a diving perspective, it’s a lot less stressful because we don’t have that many people watching,” he said. “For swimming, it’s less exciting.”
Fitpatrick said that the level of intensity is different this year, as typically most swimmers would have club practice outside of South’s team practices.
“But a lot of the kids haven’t been able to do that,” he said. “The coach has said it himself that a lot of the kids are not in the shape that they would be.”
Despite the irregular season, the team is working hard, Fitzpatrick said.
“We’ve had two virtual meets so far, and everything is going smoothly,” he said.
Boys Hockey [2-2-3, 2 NG]
Team chemistry is one of the hardest things to master, especially during a COVID-19 season, boys hockey coach Chris Ryberg said. Locker rooms, as per MIAA guidelines, are closed, eliminating bonding time for the hockey team.
“We were in the rink 15 minutes before the game or 15 minutes before practice, and we had to leave right after, so there’s not that one-on-one interaction. Usually, at this point in the season there’s been a bunch of team dinners,” he said. “We can’t do that.”
Ryberg said that his senior leaders have handled these challenges well by making an effort to connect with underclassmen.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re a freshman on the team or a senior, it doesn’t matter if you’re on JV or varsity, everyone tries to build a relationship with each other, and that starts with the seniors,” he said.
Ryberg said he’s confident in his team because — though bonding has been tough — his players have been flexible in response to many schedule changes and are motivated to win each time they step onto the ice.
The team is coming off of some strong performances early this season, including two overtime wins.
Alpine Ski [G: 5-0-0; B: 2-3-0]
After an uncertain start to the season, captain senior Masie Abbiati said she is excited that races have been allowed by the MIAA.
“At the beginning of the season, when we signed up, they said ‘it’s just gonna be two practices a week and it’s just kind of going to be a rebuilding year; there are no competitions,’” she said. “But [now], we’re having races.”
Most Dual County League races are happening, but large invitationals and state competitions have been suspended, changing the team’s outlook on the season.
Athletes remain positive and are using the pressure-free environment as an opportunity to improve their skills, Abbiati said.
“There’s no states or anything, so there’s not as much competition. It’s more just do as well as you can for yourself and just try to improve,” she said.
Abbiati said she’s hopeful about what the team will accomplish this season and in seasons to come.
“I think it’s going to be a really good year and that the team will be pretty good next year,” she said.
Boys Basketball [5-3-0, 3 NG]
Boys basketball captain junior Jaiden Soberanis helped lead his team to a strong 2-0 start to the season and has encouraged his teammates to persevere through COVID-19-related challenges.
“We’re adjusting to it the best way we can, and we’re still gonna attack it 100% like we normally do. It’s just a little harder this year,” he said.
The team has experienced several schedule changes, as their opponents have had to postpone due to COVID-19, but they have responded well, Soberanis said.
“Games getting canceled left and right [is] just where we are right now,” he said. “We’re just trying to adjust to it.”
The team is following safety precautions while maintaining community, Soberanis said.
“We’re trying to stay connected as best as we can without physically seeing each other, so we don’t expose ourselves to the virus,” he said.
For Soberanis, just playing is enough.
“I’m just glad to be back on the floor,” he said.
Nordic ski captain sophomore Mariel Shapiro said that thanks to the sport’s nature, the team has had no problems adhering to COVID-19 guidelines.
“It happens naturally because if you’re within six feet of someone, you’re probably going to fall over because your skis are wide, and your poles are out,” she said.
The weather, a combination of high temperatures and minimal snowfall, however, has proved a challenge. Despite imperfect skiing conditions, members of the team are improving rapidly, she said.
Shapiro said that though the fate of the season was up in the air during the fall, the team is glad competing is still possible and prepared to keep working hard the rest of the season.
“I’m having a lot of fun, and I hope other people are too. I think it is going really well, especially considering COVID-19,” she said. “I’m really happy it was able to happen.”