Winter Sports: RECAP!

Winter sports athletes tackled several challenges and overcame numerous feats this season. The winter season, which started on January 26, 2021 and ended on April 25, 2021, consists of the following sports: bowling, cheerleading, ice hockey, winter track, wrestling, swimming, gymnastics, girls volleyball, girls basketball, and boys basketball. With the help of Athletic Director David Sandaal, Administrative Assistant Kelly O’Boyle, and Trainer Timothy Root, all of the winter sports had a productive season, with ninety percent of them being in-person. 

During the Winter Varsity Awards Night, Charles Ross, the principal of EHS, and Sandaal commented on the winter season. Due to the protocols instituted by the CDC, Sandaal described the season as “a season like no other.” Ross also recognized the sportsmanship, effort, and parental support of the athletes.

The coaches were thankful to have a season, even if the season was hindered by masks and social distancing. Bowling Coach Tracie Smith said that the athletes “competed while wearing masks” and “followed all the protocols,” but the athletes’ “school spirit and support for each other could not be held down because of COVID-19.” Throughout the season, the athletes prioritized each other’s health and safety while maintaining their passion. Although the athletes had fewer opportunities for matches, tournaments, and championships, they—especially the seniors—were grateful for the opportunity to play at all. 

When the cheer coach, Nicole Gregoire, was quarantined along with some members, the cheer team switched to virtual lesson plans instead of typical practices. Nevertheless, the athletes managed to learn the entire routine in two weeks. “I don’t think there were more than two practices the entire season where we had a full team, but they were determined and they set a goal and that goal was to compete this routine, and we did just that,” said Gregoire. Another obstacle they faced was having to film their routine rather than performing it live. Gregoire and the athletes found that it was difficult to perform to a nonexistent audience and “get that perfect video.” In the end, they took home a historic state championship win. Read more here

The swim team faced similar challenges. They also had to hold their meets virtually and were able to meet their opponents in-person. Kaitlin Hoey, the swim coach, explains how the team shifted their focus “to develop mental grit and really work to push themselves to the best of their abilities while the competition was not in the lane directly next to them.” This new experience united the team, and in the end, they finished with a 3-2 record.

The athletes gave all of their effort even with the setbacks. The Special Athletic Department awards recognized the achievements of several athletes this winter season. Nicholas Barnes ‘21 from boys basketball and Kristy Ly ‘21 from girls volleyball received the Robert Coward award, the award for the most valuable player. Krystal Ramnarine ‘21 from girls volleyball and Jose De La Barrera ‘21 from bowling won the Frank N. Cangelosi Scholar Award for maintaining the highest GPA. Lastly, the award for the “unsung hero,” as Sandaal put it, was given to Kevin Luna ‘21 from wrestling, and the award for loyalty was given to Julissa Encarnacion ‘21 from girls basketball.

Despite the obstacles, the coaches worked with their student athletes to make their short season successful, and the athletes persevered to actualize that goal. With the COVID-19 vaccines becoming mandatory and the lifting of safety precautions, coaches and students alike hope for a more traditional season in the coming year.