Westminster’s new goals as the coronavirus pandemic goes on include keeping students and faculty safe while continuing sports. Wrestling, in particular, requires very close physical contact in order to compete and practice, which has proven difficult to manage in this pandemic.
Wrestling coaches took extraordinary precautions to keep their athletes safe. “The measures that we took were we divided the teams (individual students) into pods to control who was in contact with who because the pods were in groups of four,” says Wrestling Coach Chuck Breithaupt. “We also required that wrestlers wear masks, and we were very strict with that.” The pods consisted of four wrestlers per pod split into two pairs. Five pods total got put into a rotation throughout practice, and halfway through practice the pods rotated from the weight room to the wrestling mat or vice versa.
For some families, the potential risk of getting COVID has been too much to handle. “My parents didn’t let me wrestle in the meets” says 8th grader Brian Schaeffer. “But I helped at [the meets] by using the scoreboard and cleaning the mats.” Every seven or so matches the mats would be disinfected and mopped to help prevent covid from spreading to the other wrestlers. Another precaution during the meets required the wrestlers to keep their masks on until they were up to wrestle, and wrestlers also had the option to keep their masks on through the whole match. Moreover, parents were not allowed to go to the meets to ensure student’s safety from potential contamination.
Some students think they did not get enough practice because they could only wrestle one person. “We were not able to wrestle our friends; we could only wrestle one kid [in each weight class]” said 7th grader Jackson Bailey. “This limited our abilities because we weren’t able to get a challenge and improve.” The fact that the wrestlers could only wrestle one person for the whole year must have hindered all of their performances both in practice and in meets.
Despite this terrible virus, Westminster Sports have stayed as safe and strong as ever, taking many precautions to keep both the athletes and the coaches safe. We hope that this pandemic ends soon and everyone can return to their regular lives, including playing sports with no restrictions.