Sports lose several participants due to COVID


Boys pictured at the track senior night on Feb. 6, 2021

Ever since the beginning of COVID, sports have been a major question of concern. The danger of spreading the virus arises because of the close-contact nature involved with playing sports. This has caused many students to choose to not join a sport in order to prevent this.

In total, 148 less students participated in winter sports this year compared to last.

The decline in students participating has caused record low numbers in each sport.

Most notably, Girls Track lost 38 participants and Boys Track lost 45 due to COVID.

“It has drastically affected the numbers,” track coach Julian Scarborough said. “A lot of the kids that want to come out and participate can’t because their parents aren’t allowing them to come out.”

COVID not only affects the student who may be exposed to the virus, but the families of those students. When the students are exposed, they bring it home to their families and increase the risk of contracting the virus causing many parents to not allow their children to join a sport.

Another sport that took a big hit was Cheer, losing 21 members.

“I chose not to do sports this year,” senior Sarah Gonzalez said. “I wanted to stay safe from COVID since I live with older relatives.” People of older age are at a high risk of severe illness when exposed to COVID. 

In some cases, students are able to join some sports rather than others. Many students weren’t able to do wrestling because of the physical contact involved with no masks required, but are able to do other sports, such as Lacrosse that have less close contact.

This caused Wrestling to lose 35 participants across the program from last year.

“My parents didn’t want me to do wrestling,” junior Gabe Bolin said. “You have no mask on while actually wrestling while the other sports wear masks and stay separated the whole time.”

Sports this year are also different from past years with new restrictions and guidelines, which provides another reason students do not want to participate. 

“I knew it definitely wasn’t going to be the same experience from past years,” Gonzalez said. “So it wouldn’t be as fun, in my opinion.”

Athletes who did choose to join a sport step up to the challenge, despite the decrease in numbers. 

“They come out and they’re committed to the sport and give their best effort,” Scarborough said. “The numbers are down so sometimes you might not get the full talent pool that you would want to have, but they give you their effort and still do well and they get more attention.”

Students who are not able to participate in sports this year wish they could be there for their teammates and mourn over their lost seasons.

“I miss the meets and team connection,” Bolin said. “It was a good distraction from school and home life.” 

Many students will not feel comfortable returning until COVID cases start to decline and the vaccine is widely available.

With the new vaccines rolling out, there is hope that this will be possible in the near future. Until then, students wait anxiously to be able to play again.