Game Changers: The Impact

Natalie Bohorquez and Ellery Scott

Cross Country and Swim Team

How has the pandemic affected the fall season?

Cross Country

By Natalie Bohorquez

Change has become a massive part of 2020, primarily to sports. Due to COVID-19, rules are being provided to keep every player, coach, and parent safe to ensure everyone can continue to enjoy watching and participating in meets. How is covid affecting Cross Country?

They start their 2020 season off winning 1st place at the Bicentennial park meet. Still, several rules were given while at Bicentennial and the meets to come. Participants were required to wear a mask at the starting line and were only allowed for it to be taken off only right before the starting gun. The course has been widened to 6ft, and there are no longer any award ceremonies at the end of races. Visitation and socializing with other teams are strictly prohibited in order to reduce the chances of spread. Senior runner, Aiden Calderon-Wyant, says, “There seems to have been fewer meets this year, and sometimes they limit the number of people watching and even participating in the meets to be safe and control the size capacity. Though Transportation continues as usual in the past year for Cross Country meets, we are provided with a school bus, our temperatures are taken before we board and we must wear our masks on the bus, and we have the window open for ventilation.” 

However, relocations and reschedules continue to happen, causing them to additionally cancel meets. Freshman runner Shea Fagan says, “We have had quite a few meets rescheduled; some were from hurricane sally because of the meet locations being destroyed in the storm.”  Even then, they have not had to forfeit any meets, and scoring has remained the same as last year. 

Amazingly, the cross country’s size has increased! In fact, due to covid, Calderon also states, “Covid didn’t affect the number of people. We actually have had double the amount of people on the team this year compared to last year; we now have a full varsity team of 10.” Extra precautions are being taken with virtual students on the team according to the local guidelines established. Every day, runner’s temperatures are taken by coach Parmer and are even required to wear masks at practice except when running. Fagan adds, “The biggest struggle has been wearing masks every time we aren’t running at practice and meets. Still, our team will deal with covid preventions by continuing to wear a mask when not running, and even though it’s different, we’ll still proceed to put the same amount of effort in as any other year.” 

Swim Team

by Ellery Scott

COVID-19 has definitely left its mark on our everyday lives, but what about our lives involving sports? We recently asked two FHS varsity swimmers about how Covid has impacted their season. Senior Trent Mayr says that no teams have forfeited, but meets have been cancelled and some teams have not been able to compete or be able to travel due to COVID.    

We assumed there have been struggles along the way and we’ve been told we are correct. “The biggest struggle is probably the social distancing, mostly because there isn’t a lot of room to spread out,” said sophomore Stephen Laraway. Mayr commented that “the biggest struggle in practice was limited people per lane due to social distancing regulations. The biggest struggle at meets would be having to wear masks at all times. Getting out after an all out race and trying to catch your breath with a mask on is not ideal.” 

We also wondered about the meets and whether they had been impacted as well. “Our meet schedule has been changed significantly,” said Mayr. “Half the amount of meets, less traveling, and cancelled sectional meets. Our state meet got moved from Auburn University, where it’s been held for years, to the Huntsville Aquatic Center.” Laraway added that (their) county meet – where every school in the county competes – is now split up into two sessions: one for the girls and one for the boys.

There have been new safety precautions put into place for the football team. Has the swim team been impacted by the additional safety precautions as well? “Masks are required on the pool deck and on meet days, we have to spread our chairs away from each other. We take our masks when we get into the water. If you aren’t swimming, then you should be wearing a mask,” said Laraway.  Mayr commented,“(We) are attempting to keep masks and social distancing as best as possible. We have not allowed any spectators to come to our meets this season to try and make things safer.” 


Although our swimmers have faced many challenges this season, they have continued to persevere and make Fairhope High School proud.