The Return of the Mighty Trojans

Excited Trojan athletes shake off the rust and get back to what they do best; competing at a high level

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Photo Credit: Larry Farmer

The 2020-21 Lincoln High School Girl’s Tennis Team

Alana Luman, Editor-in-Chief

Last month, Lincoln High School successfully launched its first meet and match since the pandemic hit almost one year ago. Trojan athletes representing track and field, girl’s tennis, swimming and diving, and boy’s golf have finally gone back to practice and game competition. “It’s absolutely exciting to get these kids get away from their Chrome books, get them back outside, and doing something healthy (exercise) with their friends. It is very important for young people to challenge themselves physically. There is no doubt that we can train and compete in a very safe environment. These kids want the opportunity to compete and they are willing to follow the guidelines to perfection to make it happen,” said Nick Hohn, Head Track Coach.

The ability to get back out onto a field, court, pool or track has taken a tremendous amount of patience from administrators, health officials, teachers, parents and most importantly the student- athletes themselves. There has been a regular start and stop to the whole process of re-opening high school athletics. Coaches, parents and athletes saw a December 1st start up date arrive and vanish. New Year’s Day arrived on schedule, but there was no new word from Governor Newsom until February 12th . Governor Newsom finally kicked down the door by creating a pathway for youth and high school sports to return on February 26th . “We are now confident with our new guidelines that we can get youth sports running again,” stated Newsom.

According to Newsom’s updated guidance, outdoor high contact sports can be played in counties in the purple or red tiers as long as the counties have a case rate at or below 14 per 100,000. Weekly testing requirements will also be put in place for high-contact sports, but not for moderate-contact sports. The high-contact sports include football, rugby, and water polo. The moderate-contact sports include baseball, cheerleading, and softball. As we approached February 26th, there were 19 counties that were eligible to resume high-contact outdoor sports. Newsom also said the state will pay for the cost associated with regular testing of high school athletes for COVID-19.

Back in January, the Tri-City Athletic League Board of Managers met to get themselves organized for play once Newsom put his guidelines in place. The result was the Board of Mangers actually creating four mini-seasons within one large season. Here is what the adopted sport seasons looks like: Season 1 is February 8 to March 31, 2021 and includes track, swimming and diving, boy’s golf and girl’s tennis. Season 2 is March 1 to April 17, 2021 and includes baseball, softball and football. Season 3 is March 29 to May 15, 2021 and includes cross country, girl’s golf, boy’s tennis, boy’s and girls’ soccer, badminton, boy’s and girls’ volleyball and boy’s and girl’s water polo. The final season, Season 4, is from April 19 to June 12, 2021 and includes boy’s and girls’ basketball, wrestling and competitive cheer.

California’s State Department of Health developed colored coded tiers (purple, red, orange, and yellow) as a method to help guide administrators and coaches provide guidance for when sports could be started again. Newsom’s new guidelines allow high school sports to open in the most restrictive tier which is purple. The four mini-seasons will allow our multi-sport athletes to compete in more than one sport, however, that sport cannot be within the same playing period. The goal is for our Trojans to be playing against TCAL member teams. If an additional game is needed, then the team must come from your same county.

Head girl’s tennis coach, Larry Ferrari, probably summed it up best by stating, “The pandemic has resulted in student-athletes becoming more isolated from their peer groups, teachers, teammates and coaches. All of whom they all depend on for appropriate emotional support. The isolation our young people have been dealing with can create a sense of hopelessness. Science shows us that there is a direct link between a strong mind and body. I am absolutely thrilled that our ladies have been given this opportunity to express themselves and get back to feeling normal again.”