Aware of Potential Hurdles, Winter Sports Prepare for Competition


Olivia Cuevas '16

Girls Varsity Swimming in a meet against Worcester Academy.

With current state-wide and nation-wide Covid case numbers higher than they were in the fall, Williston enters the winter season with challenges to face.

Fall sports faced similar challenges this year. However, cases were lower and most fall sports were played outside, where Covid-19 spreads less easily. According to the CDC, Massachusetts cases have risen above 448,000. Hampshire County Covid cases are around 4,700 as of January 14.

With higher case numbers and all sports besides skiing taking place indoors, winter sports could face even more hurdles than fall, according to Mark Conroy, Williston’s Athletic Director.

“I think there are a couple of factors that will make this winter more challenging than the fall not just in terms of athletics but as a community,” he said. “More than ever, it will be so important as a community that we do our very best to heed all the precautions we are putting in place to keep each other safe.”

Despite restrictions, Conroy believes swimming and skiing will proceed — with some changes, of course.

“Skiing is outdoors and is a socially distant sport, so I am optimistic that we will be able to potentially compete,” he said. “In swimming, because of the nature of the sport, we can conduct virtual swim meets with opponents  in which we swim simultaneous meets in our own pool for times and then score the meet.”

Currently, swimming is scheduled to have virtual meets, and basketball is scheduled to have regular games.

Basketball head coach Ben Farmer is aware of and ready for whatever comes his way this season.

“Everyday can be a potential setback,” he said. “I went through it in the fall, coaching football. I think we’re more prepared for it this winter than we were. I think being adaptable and flexible is super important right now. It’s something I’m ready for as the head coach and I think our players are going to be ready for it as well.”

While he is prepared for setbacks, Farmer is treating this winter like a normal season.

“I’m approaching it just like any other winter,” he said. “We do have games scheduled at the moment. Whether or not we play them, I’d say it’s 50/50 at best. I’m preparing our team like we are playing. Every day we always try to get better individually and as a team.”

Athletes’ morale could have taken a hit from winter competition changing. However, a lot of athletes are still heading into the winter season with positive energy. Henry Wiemeyer, a junior swimmer from Northampton, is nervous, but looking forward to the season despite restrictions.

“I’m both excited and nervous,” he said. “I’m mostly excited because I have been looking forward to swimming with both the new and old swimmers for a long time … Although I wish we could train and swim in meets as a team, I’m still grateful for this opportunity.”