Fall sports continue, but with a new look for the 2020 season

A multitude of student athletes, fans, parents and coaches were struck with disappointment as their spring sport seasons were cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak. As we have learned more about the coronavirus, most schools in Iowa–including Abraham Lincoln–have decided to continue fall sports with the proper precautions.

Associate Director of the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union, and former Johnston High School activities director, Gary Ross, told the Echoes about specific precautions and options available for schools across Iowa.

“The IGHSAU has provided some guidelines and suggestions for schools to manage the coronavirus,” Ross said. “Local schools have been allowed to implement more stringent guidelines as needed for their local school, county, or region of the state.”

Athletic Director for ALHS, Jeff Novotny, shared his outlook on how he predicts the success of the new precautions being implemented this year. 

If coaches, players and spectators follow the rules of social distancing and masks, I think it will be effective in helping prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Novotny said. “The science tells us that these precautions help prevent the spread.”

Many student athletes participating in spring sports were stripped of their seasons at the end of the 2019-20 school year. As of now, high school fall sports have resumed, but student athletes have found the experience to be much different.

Volleyball athlete and junior Savannah Maisel, described the change in environment  because of the new rules regarding the COVID-19 outbreak. 

“As a player it’s hard to understand and apply the rules to the game when we’ve never had those restrictions before,” Maisel said. “I would say they are necessary because if they were not then they wouldn’t have made them.”

As crowds have been limited at school sporting events, the atmosphere has been different from previous years. Maisel said adjustments have been made due to crowd limitations.

Most of our hype comes from our big crowds. And without that this year, parents and the bench will have to up the cheering,” Maisel said. “It was a different feel running out on the court to almost complete silence than the normal booming of cheers.”

As fall seasons continue with success so far, Ross expressed his positive outlook on the continuation of high school sports.

“The IGHSAU is very confident in each guidelines to provide the student athletes, coaches, and spectators in a safe environment,” Ross said. “We are hopeful that these measures by the schools make a difference.”