Tis The Seasons


During the ongoing pandemic, sports seasons have been uncertain for high school student athletes since the beginning of the summer. This is a shock to many, because most high school student-athletes participated in sports throughout the summer with their AAU teams. Ultimately, this turned out to be an OCPS liability issue, not only having to deal with the risks of some students returning Face-to-Face for school but also figuring out a way to keep athletes safe during sporting events. Fall sports kicked off with all OCPS football teams being placed in a bubble, while all other fall sports were not separated from the rest of the student body because of funding issues. With winter sports kicking off countywide, The Blue and White reached out to hear  from some winter sports coaches and players about how their season has been affected by COVID-19.

First, we hear from the girls’ soccer team led by Coach Perrine. The girls’ team has kind of been in a slump lately, losing their last two previous games. Looking to change things around here, Coach Perrine explains some of the differences their team has had to deal with because of COVID-19. She said, “One of the main differences this year due to COVID is the fact we have a lot fewer games than normal seasons, and we have also had to reschedule some games because of COVID-19, as well.” Further, she explains, “Another difference would be the amount of time it takes the girls to get warmed up since they are home for online learning all day instead of socializing and rotating classes.” On the bright side, the girls are undefeated in the Metro conference and have a chance to make a run in the playoffs. Switching from a coach’s perspective to a player’s perspective during these times, The Blue and White also heard from senior Captain Ripley Bowman on how she felt about the girls’ season. She explained, “Things that have been drastically different would have to be getting COVID tested as a precaution every couple of weeks. While also not being able to take the bus with the team for away games, and taking more responsibility who you hang out with outside of soccer.” Ripley ended by saying, “I do have a good feeling we can make a deep playoff run, as the season continues our team can only get stronger, and the fluidity of play continues to get better and better.”


Up next is competitive cheer led by Coach Bercegeay. She explained  the difficulty that  this season entails and the number of changes that her team has had to endure this upcoming season. For those that do not know, competitive cheer deals with a series of stunts and dances that the girls must perform in uniform to receive a high score from several judges. The competitive cheer team is looking very good this year; Coach Bercegeay looks forward to competing in regionals and qualifying for states for the second year in a row. When asked about the changes made, she said, “We have had many changes; one is being unable to attend summer camp due to COVID-19, which has put a huge strain on our season, but we have not let it get us down.” She added, “We also have to wear masks, which is difficult when having to stunt with partners, competitions have been different because of social distancing, and we were disappointed that one of our favorite competitions would not be held this year due to the virus.” In closing, we heard from Kameela Freeman, a member of the girls’ competitive cheerleading team, on her perspective of this year’s season. She said, “It is not that bad anymore now that we have gotten used to the new lifestyle that COVID has brung, but the limitations on things we can do made us realize that we just wanted to make the best of this year.”

Coach Matthews is leading the boys’ soccer team this year and gives his perspective on how everything is going during this COVID-19 season. It is too early to tell if the team will make the playoffs this year, but they have started strong with a 3-1-2 record, and the players are excited about the way play is going so far. Coach Matthews explained, “The pandemic has created a more cautious approach for practice and games; when we practice, we keep the JV and Varsity players separated as much as possible. Also, the JV players ride a bus to away games, Varsity ride with parents, and players wear masks practicing social distancing when not in the game.” Like many other sports programs around the AHS campus, the coaches of the team have made sure to give talks to the players on how important it is to wear a mask and socially distance. The Blue and White also heard from a current player, Joey Linartas, about how things are different for him in his junior year. He explained, “The team is looking better than last year, and we have a good chance at doing something special if we keep playing well. As for the whole COVID ordeal, we have to wear a mask everywhere, and everything is super strict with social distancing.”

Lastly, we heard from the AHS girls basketball team lead by Coach Hardy, who detailed the differences that her team faces due to COVID-19. Interestingly enough, Coach Hardy has had to take some time away from the team for a couple of days during their season after being exposed to the virus. She is fine now after being home for a couple of days. Overall, the girls’ team this year is young and will be a fine contender for the playoffs in a very tough district. Coach Hardy said, “Due to the pandemic, our interaction between the players has changed due to social distancing. However, I stay positive and continue to follow Orange County School Board health policies, taking it one day at a time.” Michela Moss, a sophmore apart of the girls’ basketball team, gives insight into how the season is different from last year. She explained, “We can’t have as many team bonding activities that we have had in the past.” Furthermore, she told The Blue and White about how the season is shaping up for the team. She said, “Overall, we have played ok. I think we can make it deep into the playoffs, and I also feel we are adapting well.”

For the Winter sports that The Blue and White did not recognize in this article, we reached out and did not receive a response from the coaches. On behalf of The Blue and White, we want to wish an excellent season for all of the Winter sports athletes and programs here on our campus.