COVID-19 Impacts Fall Sports


Elkins High School athletes have had one of the toughest battles of us all dealing with COVID-19. Between getting quarantined, having to social distance, and wearing masks, it has been a challenge for them to have a full season of sports last year at Elkins.

Elkins, like many other schools across the country, was shut down in March of 2020 due to the widespread outbreak of COVID. When this happened, sports also had to be shut down. Elkins athletes waited patiently for the following year for seasons to start back up again. However, they were not prepared for the challenges they would have to face.

Different protocols were created for different sports. Making it difficult to play sports the way they’re meant to be played.

Senior Tommy Williams is a running back and linebacker for the Elkins Tigers football team. He has played all four years of his highschool career, and had experienced what seasons were like in the earlier stages of COVID.

Williams said, “Before COVID, we never had to wear a mask while lifting or being on the field. Nowadays, it seems like we are always worrying about whether we are going to be able to play in the next game or if we are going to be quarantined.”

In the 2020 season, the Tigers did not get to play as many regular season games that they usually did. So far, in the 2021 season, they have got to play every game so far.

“Compared to last year, things have gotten better,” Williams said. “we still have to wear masks and quarantine if we are exposed, but they’re not as strict as they were last year. We have been lucky enough to get to play every game so far.”

The Tigers football team are not the only ones going through the hardships of COVID-19. Other sports, such as cross country, are having similar issues.

Sophomore Katelyn Collins is a first-year cross country runner, and recently transferred to Elkins from James Monroe, a school in southern West Virginia. Like Williams, she had also gotten a taste of what the season had been like.

Collins said, “When we run, we don’t have to wear a mask, which makes the running part a little less difficult. When we’re not running though, we keep our masks on.”

Like the football team, the Tigers cross country team hasn’t had to cancel a meet due to COVID. However, they still run the risk of being quarantined at any time.

“When we aren’t running, we still have to socially distance ourselves from other teams so we don’t take the chance of having to get quarantined. If someone does get exposed, that’s a runner down, which can really hurt us. We try to keep our masks on as much as we can to prevent it though.” Collins added.

Despite the struggles that they have endured, they have not given up yet. They are  determined to make the best of every game they have left. Tommy Williams said himself, “Through this whole mess, we as a team have stayed together and we are determined to make this season one of the best yet.”