Fall Athletes Push Forward Even With Delayed Season


Freedom students prepare for their first scrimmage with the running club. Photo provided by Chloe Collins

Michael Baker III

COVID-19 took away the normalcy of a school day and robbed athletes of their sports seasons. 

In July, the Virginia High School League (VHSL), which maintains the standards for Virginia high school sports, decided to postpone all athletic events until December. On Sept. 17, VHSL adopted the Champion + 1 schedule. High School sports will restart on Dec. 7. 

“Being an athlete training at home can be hard,” said Christopher Weeks, cross country head coach. “Also, getting your season pushed back can be hard too.”

All the fall sports getting pushed back are no fun, but critical to keeping freedom safe and COVID free,” said Brayden Milam, sophomore and football player. 

To help with training and preparing for when the season does start, the cross country team is participating with area running clubs. According to Weeks, since running is a non-contact sport, the AAU decided to host races.  

Being able to participate in sporting events also comes with many new regulations.

“There are a lot more regulations,” Weeks said. “[For example,] spectator size, race size, paperwork, temperature checks and masks then there were previously. With the COVID regulations in place we are limited to what we can and can’t do.  For example we are unable to use the weight room and we don’t have access to a track at this time. As a coach it forces you to be creative.”

Other fall sports athletes are doing what they can to prepare for the season no matter when it’s scheduled. 

“I am doing low intensity workouts and playing basketball, but I’m not in the shape the football team wants me to be,” Milam said. “Right now I am just working out to stay fit instead of working out to gain muscle and get bigger.”

Safety is always on the number one goal, especially in today’s world.

Our preparation hasn’t been much different,” Weeks said. “We also make sure each runner’s temperature is taken and that our training group is 10 feet apart at all times. Safety, and making sure we are following all COVID regulations, is always our main priority.”

With the combining of seasons, athletes may have to choose between sports. 

“Generally, we have 100-130 kids who want to participate in cross country,” Weeks said. “I’m not sure if the combination of COVID and a condensed season will affect our numbers or not.”