The Game is on for Fall Sports

State+College+boys%27+soccer+players+gather+around+the+field+at+Cumberland+Valley+High+School+in+Mechanicsburg%2C+PA%2C+on+September+26+of+2019.+Capturing+the+teammates+embracing+their+jersey+numbers+as+the+national+anthem+plays+shows+the+love+for+the+sport+these+athletes+have.+

Mackenzie Pagett

State College boys’ soccer players gather around the field at Cumberland Valley High School in Mechanicsburg, PA, on September 26 of 2019. Capturing the teammates embracing their jersey numbers as the national anthem plays shows the love for the sport these athletes have.

Jade Castro, Staff Writer

With the threat of COVID still prevalent in the U.S., many believe playing or interacting with sports and teams poses a risk factor for COVID-19. Potentially being within 6 feet of another student and not always wearing a face shield or mask are both reasons for the debate on whether to host fall sports. As students around the country go about their first week of school, many districts have already canceled sports. With the threat of not having a fall sports season, State College student-athletes and fans fell into a spiral.

Excited for her senior year, Riley Kracaw was ready to begin her golfing season. She had her eyes set on advancing to states herself and winning districts with her team. Kracaw, a 2019 Keystone Division “All Star,” has been a renowned golfer for State High ever since she began

State College girls’ 2019-2020 golf team, State College, PA. (Photo courtesy of Riley Kracaw )

her freshman year. She was excited to hang out with her teammates and compete against other girls she has known the past three years of her high school career. Kracaw was heartbroken when she realized her senior season might be canceled due to COVID-19. “I was a little sad knowing that my senior season might be canceled because I would miss getting to spend time with my teammates and my coaches,” Kracaw said.          

Student-athletes rely heavily on their sport to cope with mental health and stressors throughout the day. PIAA has approved fall sports to move forward. Bob Lombardi, PIAA executive director, explained that it was worth at least attempting to play fall sports. Sports offer a lot to the schools, including an income from selling tickets, a better school environment, and excitement for the spectators and athletes. However, sports do pose a risk factor for COVID-19 and the spreading of the disease; many people wonder whether playing sports is the best option. The cancellation of sports could possibly lower the chance of spreading the virus.     

The State College School District decided to also continue with fall sports, starting on September 4th. However, some limitations have been put in place to ensure the safety of the athletes and their coaches. Such limitations include: using disinfectant for blocking and tackling shields, sleds, pads, and dummies, and the enforcement of wearing face shields or face masks, and social distancing. Although SCASD might be going fully remote, fall sports will still be happening, their competitive season starting as soon as September 25th. 

Fall sports include boys’ and girls’: golf, soccer and cross country, girls’: tennis, volleyball, and field hockey, boys’: football. Sasha Mohoruk, a senior soccer player, has hopes of playing in college next fall. He wants a senior season to help with improvements, recruiting, and just being around his team. Mohoruk believes this fall season would be amazing, knowing it was a gift given to them during a difficult time. “It’s an emotional thing to think about, not being able to have my senior year. I’ve been an athlete my whole life and this is the most important season of my life. As freshmen, those are your role models and you think about one day that will be you leading the team,” Mohoruk said. 

Gathering together as a team at the soccer field in State College, PA, the State College boys’ soccer team celebrates another successful day, October 1st, 2019. (Photo courtesy of Mackenzie Pagett)

Mohoruk, like most student-athletes, believes having a sports season will keep students out of trouble, and will improve their mindset to tackle the rest of the school year.

Moreover, Mohoruk was among a large group of athletes fearing for their senior season. Following a successful year of volleyball last year, Paige Edwards was eager to see what her senior season would hold. Throughout the past few practices, the atmosphere has been both enthusiastic and positive for the hope of the season that lies ahead. Since Edwards does not plan on playing the sport in college, she is overly ecstatic that this season is going to happen, giving her more time with her teammates and coaches. “ I really hope that my fellow seniors and I get to play the game we love one more time together this season,” Edwards said.  

Although fall sports have been approved, the idea or thought of not being able to play sports truly left a mark on the students. Athletes, coaches, and fans are excited to see what this season will hold. 

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