U-High athletics teams adjust practices, postpone seasons to comply with new regulations

While some seasons are allowed to begin, new safety guidelines will change many aspects of competition

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Maria Shaugnessy

U-High's cross country team runs across Midway Plaisance Park to practice in the fall 2019 season. Cross country is one of the sports that will continue to run practices this fall.

Christian Gluth, Sports Editor

After multiple delays, U-High’s golf, cross country and girls tennis teams have been given the green light to begin full practices after the first day of school next Tuesday, Sept. 8. 

Under new IHSA regulations, boys soccer and volleyball, which have previously competed in the fall, have been moved to a new season from Feb. 15-May 1, between the usual winter and spring sports seasons.

Plans for a girls swimming season are on hold and will be announced when permission is granted by the University of Chicago. Co-ed sailing will be considered for financial support in the spring season depending on the status of the Columbia Yacht Club, according to Athletics Director David Ribbens.

The postponement of these sports is in direct response to the concerns of the spread of the coronavirus among the teams.

“All of our sports are affected by this change in the fall, and they’re all somewhat open to discussion and could be closed down at any time,” Mr. Ribbens said. “It’s day-to-day, week-by-week.”

New safety restrictions for sports will encourage regular hand sanitizing and social distancing, and require that athletes wear masks to and from competitions. Students are responsible for their own transportation rather than use team buses. In addition, locker rooms will be closed, and participating athletes will be required to bring their own equipment.

The criteria for sports safety, according Mr. Ribbens, depends on how socially distant a sport is and whether they are indoors. Because tennis, cross country and golf all take place outside and naturally keep space between competitors, these sports already comply with safety guidelines and are lower risk for the spread of the coronavirus.

Mr. Ribbens said, “In tennis, cross country and golf, the competition can still go on along with social distancing and along with the precautions necessary with the masks and being outside.”

Junior cross country athlete Zach Gin is still excited for the fall season despite unusualness.

 “The main difference between this upcoming season and previous seasons is that Lab hasn’t cleared us for competing,” Zach said. “Regardless I know that running with the team will be fun and I can’t wait for the season to start!”