High school sports return to Wake County

High+school+sports+return+to+Wake+County

Sam Bost, Sports Copy Editor

The North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) has announced that fall sports will begin in November. Starting  Nov. 4, cross country and volleyball teams will begin official training. These will be the first official practices since March 13, when all sports related activities were cancelled for the foreseeable future. The return of high school sports means North Carolina will join 35 other states in reinstating high school athletics before 2021.

Women’s volleyball is a non-contact sport, meaning many social distancing policies can still be enforced. The Wake County Public School System (WCPSS) does not have the resources to regularly test athletes, so more protocols must be enacted to safely practice and participate in sports. Temperature checks before entry, wearing masks while not actively participating and remaining socially distant are all added precautions amid the pandemic.

We also have to sanitize balls, hands and net before and after we use them, as well as no contact with anyone in the gym and are split into two pods to limit numbers,” said Rebecca Elliott, senior.

Shortened seasons will also create a new competitive spirit. With only conference matches taking place, practices are more valuable than ever before. The volleyball season only has five official games scheduled, beginning Nov. 23 with a home matchup against Cary. These games will determine the playoffs seeding, with playoffs beginning Jan. 12. 

“I feel we have a strong group of girls this year that will be able to succeed fairly well with our cut season but we do have to work 100 times harder to achieve that success,” said Elliott.

Cross country is also officially returning. Along with volleyball, extra precautions will be added. However, cross country may face obstacles regarding social distancing as in the beginning and end of races competitors are often in very close proximity. Currently, they will practice the same precautions as volleyball, which include wearing masks and socially distancing while not actively participating and using temperature checks to mitigate risks of spreading the virus.

The cross country season has also been greatly reduced. Beginning Nov. 16 they will have a maximum of 14 meets to prepare for the regional event, which begins Jan. 16. The shortening of seasons will have a great effect on the performance of teams and individuals. It will change the dynamic of meets as every race will be more crucial for qualifying for regionals.

“I think a lot of things are up in the air right now. With a shortened season, there’s no guarantee that we will run all the races that we’ve been scheduled for. At the same time, I feel like the training that we have been doing for the past five months will help lead us to success,” Elias Guedira, senior.