Winter sports continue with new Covid-19 regulations

After+all+their+extensive+practice%2C+the+Spiritline+team+won+the+state+championship+in+2019+where+they+were+able+to+perform+in+front+of+a+live+audience.

Xavier Spiritline

After all their extensive practice, the Spiritline team won the state championship in 2019 where they were able to perform in front of a live audience.

Ashley Rojas, Staff Writer

Amidst the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) decided to implement new safety measures to all the winter and spring sports for the 2021 seasons. These new rules are effective January 18, 2021.

According to the AIA, everyone present at a game is required to wear a mask the entire time. To reduce the risk of infection, players should track their health leading up to a game. Each player may have a maximum of two guests at their home games.

There are many guidelines that have to be followed to ensure that players, coaches and administrators have lower risks of catching the virus. However, these changes haven’t deterred the players from giving it their best, under difficult circumstances.

Spiritline head varsity coach Monica Gaspar said in an email, “The main reason these girls tryout for teams like Gatorline and Spiritline is to be able to perform and to compete in cheer or dance and part of performing is doing it for a crowd.  We haven’t had much of a crowd this year.”

Not only is it hard for the Spiritline and Gatorline not to be able to cheer for the teams, but it is also hard for the teams not to have much of an audience.

Freshman Mary Jose Bautista said that it was hard for her to not have her family and friends in the audience. Family and friends are a source of encouragement for players as well as people to whom athletes can show how hard they have been working.

Sophomore Isabella Leonard, who plays varsity soccer, said, “It has been a bit of a roller coaster for the team with all the changing rules and the status of our season but we are all working to stay safe and abide by all the new rules.” 

Both Leonard and Bautista said that these changes, although hard, aren’t affecting their performances. They are glad that they were able to have a winter season.

Earlier this year, the AIA had considered cancelling the season but after a meeting they decided to allow the season to continue. The pandemic has been stressful for many and sports are a way to relieve that stress, so having the season almost be cancelled took an emotional toll for many.

Leonard said that all these new requirements are “worth it in order to stay healthy and have our season.” 

Even through these hardships, Gaspar said that the players have kept “pushing because they are athletes and love what they do.” 

All Xavier coaches are strictly following the rules set by the AIA so the season continues and everyone stays safe. They are reinforcing the use of masks and social distancing while trying to make it easier for their players to adapt.

“Coach has been really patient and encourages us to get used to wearing masks in practice so that by game time it is not as hard,” said Bautista.