Winter athletes fearful of future


Cole Schmitt, Online EIC

During the COVID-19 pandemic, athletes all around the country have been dealing with postponements, cancellations and more. It’s no different here in the Little Apple as the winter athletes try to salvage a season. 

“We just focus on taking [it] one thing at a time,” senior wrestler Damian Ilalio said. “We have to control what we can control and learn about that. We can’t control what the [USD 383 Board of Education] says or with the school or anything like that, but we can control doing our part, wearing our masks and following protocols and all that.”

Winter sports are indoor which means there is more risk for exposure of the virus as the season starts up. The Board of Education and Kansas State High School Activities Association have released guidelines on what the protocols and directions are for continuing. 

With guidelines has come uncertainty, though. Last week many believed Manhattan High would go to All-Distance Learning, which likely meant no winter sports for the time being. However, the policy of no sports in remote school is only district wide as KSHSAA currently allows remote high schools to compete. So, the school could continue to have sports if the policy is changed, but there has been no indication this will be considered. No decision was made in the Nov. 18 Board meeting so, hybrid will be continued after Thanksgiving meaning sports should happen as scheduled. 

There is also the possibility that the winter sports season is moved back to January in high schools across the state. KSHSAA is set to vote on this proposal tomorrow, amidst rising case counts all over the Midwest.

Coaches and athletes understand the thought process of the administrators and personnel that make these key decisions, but are unsettled by the inconsistency.

“I do think it’s tiring hearing all that [back and forth], I think not just the athletes, but also the students in general and the teachers,” Ilalio said. “Everybody’s pretty tired of the school district and the school board just going back and forth on whether we’re going hybrid or remote full days [and] whether the sports season can be cancelled or shifted back to January.”

The athletes want nothing more than to be able to play the game they love. So, during a time like we’re in, they just want to enjoy what they have in the moment.

“I stay focused by just trying my best to zone everything out and focusing on getting better every single day,” senior boys basketball player Brett Wilcoxson said. “All the coaches, and guys on the team are doing a great job, just being grateful for every opportunity we get together on the court.”