Winter Sports are Back!
Just like that, winter sports are back in the swing of things! After a final push back on the ban on winter contact sports, Governor Whitmer decided to open things up a bit earlier than she said she would, letting athletes return to practice on February 8th. Winter athletics at Spring Lake High School include the contact sports: boys’ and girls’ basketball, competitive cheer, wrestling, and hockey. The non-contact winter sports (skiing and boys’ swim and dive) that have been allowed to compete for a longer period of time simply continue. While all these sports may be different, they have one thing in common - a group of dedicated athletes with a passion to play.
The non-contact sports are finishing up now, skiing season is over, with a few of the boys going all the way to the state race! Boys’ swim and dive is getting ready to wrap up their season and finish it out strong.
As for the contact sports, well, they are just getting started. So, I reached out for a summary as to how they managed their time off of the sport. Macy Carey, a senior on the girls’ varsity basketball team, says, “When our team finally was allowed to step into the gym, it felt sort of surreal. In all honesty, it was hard to be super excited because everything is so up in the air these days. But, when my team got together and actually got to scrimmage, the energy was amazing. Everyone was upbeat and ready to compete!” Now, the team has had a few games and is improving as the season goes on.
Sam Sheridan, from the boys’ varsity basketball team, says, “[We were] really excited to start playing again. We had our first contact practice the second we could - when it turned midnight on the day sports were to be opened. It has felt amazing to play again since then. I have played basketball for 13 years and it wouldn’t seem right not to have a senior season to cap it all off.” The boys team has also been working hard to improve while staying safe.
From the wrestling team, Max Montgomery says, “When the season started we still weren't able to have any contact so we did what we could to get in shape. We practiced without a partner, just drilling individually and conditioning, mostly. We tried to keep in shape by doing at home workouts and going to crossfit as a team during the time that we weren't allowed to practice. We were excited to finally be able to have actual practice and we started working hard right away. Everyone was eager to compete, so it felt really good to finally get to wrestle against other teams. The season has been going well so far, everyone is still working hard even at home during our quarantine. We are still doing workouts as a team through Zoom everyday to keep everyone in shape and making sure they are ready to get back to competing.” Things have been especially hard for the wrestling team. They only got a glimpse of hope and a little taste of their season, only to have it taken away from them due to the need to quarantine due to exposure to COVID-19.
Senior cheerleader Elly VanderHoek says, “Coming back to winter sports was almost a surreal feeling. I honestly thought that we would never have the chance to do sports again. When everything started to shut down again, we started having practice over Zoom. Having to learn the cheers over a Zoom call was very difficult. Seeing my team over a computer screen was really hard too, but once we got back to face-to-face practices we were all so excited to start up again. As a senior, I was super happy that we were able to get a final season this year. Even with masks, us cheerleaders push through and get things done!” Elly’s words ring true. Already this year, the cheer team has won conference champs and increased their total scores significantly since last year!
Finally, Cohen Trinka, a senior hockey player, says, “We all had to do our own thing before we could play. Whether that was running or lifting weights, we were just doing whatever we could to prepare for when we could get back together. We all distanced ourselves just so we could stay safe and hopefully get on the ice faster. Hearing the news that we would be able to play was the best feeling, yet everyone was still nervous because we were told we would be able to play for months, but we kept getting pushed back. When we finally got to play, it was like playing in our first game all over again. After waiting eleven months, playing in a real game made us excited but also very nervous. The relief of being about to do what we love after waiting for so long was truly amazing - like a weight had been lifted off our shoulders.” Now, the hockey team is 7 and 2.
All in all, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that all athletes, no matter their sport, are ecstatic to get back into their schedules. With the spread of COVID-19 still prevalent in our community, it may not be possible to go to a game in-person, but be sure to check for a live stream so you can keep up with the latest Laker athletic happenings!