Sports resume practice with COVID-19 precautions

Juliana Coates, Staff Writer

As the 2020-2021 school year kicks off its fall sports season, there are many new procedures and guidelines that have to be followed in order to keep coaches and athletes safe and healthy.

Chapman Athletic Director Greg Wilson says that most of the new protocols are an extension of the guidelines the South Carolina High School League (SCHSL) gave during the summer.

“That would be social distancing when all possible, all of our athletes wear a mask in the weight room,(and) they wear masks when they’re within six feet of each other,” Wilson said. “All of our coaches wear face covers.There’s temperature checks before each workout and pre-screening questions.”

At first, students were only allowed to work out in groups of 10, including the coach. Now the groups have expanded to 16, and Wilson said that in the coming weeks limits will disappear entirely.

“Right now we have started girl’s golf and girl’s tennis, and this week we have started volleyball and cross country,” Wilson said. “Once they start, there’s not a limit on how many athletes can be together.”

Girl’s tennis head coach Zach Williams said that for his team, the biggest changes are during the actual matches.

“Each player will only serve with their own can of balls,” Williams said. “They have to switch ends of the court on opposite sides of each other, only the home player can change the score, and a few other safety guidelines.”

Junior Elizabeth Williams, the number one player for the Lady Panthers, says that while managing her time on and off the court is now more challenging, she is still confident in her team’s ability to play well and win matches.

“Although match style will be a little different this year, I know this will not hinder the determination of my team to achieve,” Williams said.

Wilson also stated that he was proud of Chapman’s student athletes and how well they’ve responded to the new guidelines. Over 400 fall athletes are officially cleared to play, which is a tremendous achievement.

“It’s shown that our kids really want to participate,” Wilson said. “I think being away from it in the spring really motivated our kids to do the right thing so they can get back into some normalcy athletically.”

Williams said much of the same thing about his team, complimenting how well they have adjusted.

“They have been great about doing what we have to (do) so we get to keep practicing and hopefully start play(ing) soon,” Williams said.