Fall sports take on virtual seasons


Photo courtesy of Katherine Yi

Katherine Yi and her varsity field hockey teammates play against the Wootton team during the 2019 fall season. Unlike previous years, the virtual fall season in MCPS does not allow for in person practices and games.

By Jordan Pashkoff, Assistant Online Editor

This time last year, many WCHS students were in the midst of their fall sports season. Whether it was soccer, field hockey, volleyball, football or cross-country, the junior varsity and varsity teams practiced everyday and competed against other schools. This year, since school is fully virtual, fall sports must change how they are run. 

“Because of the virus we cannot meet in person for any practices or meets, so we basically have to do everything on our own,” sophomore Paige Tasin, a member of the junior varsity cross-country team, said. “Our coaches send us runs or workouts to do and it is up to us to do them. We also do weekly zoom calls in order to discuss our runs with our teammates.” 

The WCHS cross-country team meets two to three times per week on Zoom for team bonding and discussions about their runs and workouts. They are advised to run four to six miles per day multiple times a week. They are also told to do hill workouts and endurance runs. 

“I have been doing a lot of ab workouts to help strengthen my core because that is a very important part of running that not a lot of people think about,” Tasin said. 

Other sports have followed the cross-country team’s footsteps, including varsity field hockey. The coaches and team leaders placed an emphasis on team bonding as well as strategies to better players’ skills. Every week they have two zooms: one for their team and one county-wide. The team zooms are more team based and the county wide zooms are about how to further your field hockey skills. After that they also have some asynchronous work, such as watching game films, making flip grids new skills and completing workouts. 

“Everything we do is accessible online now,” senior Katherine Yi said. “For example, we meet on Zoom and even have a course on MyMCPS Classroom specifically for field hockey.”

Staying in shape and practicing the sport is up to the student athletes now more than ever because of the lack of in-person practices and games with coaches and teammates pushing you to work harder. Coaches are providing activities and exercises to do, but it is ultimately up to the athlete to follow through and work hard. Many players have found other ways to practice and play their sport even if it is not through WCHS. 

“I currently play for a club field hockey team where I have practice two times a week and a game once a week,” Yi said. “This has allowed me to keep my skills up and stay in shape.”

Coaches now have to change up the dynamics of their coaching and how they are going to keep their team connected. Most teams are using MyMCPS and google classroom to provide information on activities and scheduling and are using Zoom to meet face to face. They have to adapt to make sure they are doing their best to make virtual sports as normal and productive as possible in order for student athletes to stay involved.

“Last year practices were very different,” senior Julia Taylor, a member of the varsity volleyball team, said. “We practiced three or four times a week with games on the other two days. It’s hard to play and workout like we normally would do over Zoom.” 

Unlike field hockey, varsity volleyball meets three times a week and has an optional workout on saturday mornings. These meetings include watching a county speaker, workout competition, zumba, yoga and more. 

“I think our coach, Cindy Hillard, has done an excellent job adapting to the circumstances,” Taylor said. “She’s made the practices as engaging as possible and has been very flexible with our ever-changing schedules. We also have captain meetings with our coach to schedule activities.” 

Going from playing everyday, doing team bonding activities and being able to spend time playing the sport you love with your friends to only seeing them on Zoom can be a difficult adjustment.

“It’s hard to be on the screen so much, so I’m very thankful that our coaches listened to us and planned things that genuinely benefit us,” Taylor said.