COVID Restrictions Impact Highland Sports


Annie Murdock

Connor Straessler wrestling at a home match last season.

Peach Schilling, Editor-In-Chief

Utah Governor Gary Herbert announced new restrictions regarding COVID-19 on Sunday night, which included a statewide mask mandate until further notice, strictly limited social gatherings, and implemented a two-week halt on all extracurricular activities, including high school athletics (with the exception of the final two weeks of the football playoffs). 

This week was supposed to be the kick start for wrestling and basketball at Highland, but now both sports have been postponed for at least two weeks. 

The postponement means tryouts and training will be delayed until the ban is lifted. This is especially problematic to the wrestling program under new head coach Swede Robinson.

“Our schedule is going to be dramatically changed. These two weeks are critical to developing new wrestlers and helping wrestlers achieve their weight class goals,” Robinson said. “It is going to have an impact on people allowing their student athletes to participate.”

Not only was the team planning on holding tryouts this week, but was planning on completing necessary paperwork, fundraising, and team bonding activities as well.

COVID-19 positive tests have been on the rise in Utah and nearly reached 3,000 cases everyday over the weekend. Herbert stated that “our hospitals are full” and that we “must work together to keep infections low until a vaccine is available.”

There may be hope for a vaccine, however. Drug company Pfizer who is co-developing a COVID vaccine with BioNtech in Germany has announced that they have identified only 94 cases out of the 43, 538 trial participants and suggested that the vaccine was more than 90% effective in preventing the disease. Current projections show they will produce 50 million doses this year and 1.3 billion in 2021.

As concerns over the pandemic increase, more parents are pulling their kids from participating in high school sports. 

“We already have about 10 wrestlers whose parents are not allowing them to compete due to coronavirus concerns. Likely this time break will complicate that issue more so,” Robinson said. “We are in a difficult position of keeping a competitive team and addressing all of the concerns which come with this pandemic.”

Both the boys and girls basketball teams also have to wait to finalize rosters as tryouts were supposed to begin on Monday. Teams at Highland are hoping that they will be able to practice starting Nov. 23, but there are still so many unknowns. The governor announced a hope for  weekly testing of participants in high school sports will be implemented in some way soon.

For now, athletes will be just like the rest of the student body — at home, masked up, waiting for the restrictions to be lifted.