Written By: Adam Tarr
Graphic By: Luke Theodossy
As the fall sports season comes to an end, winter sports approach. On November 1, 2021, Las Lomas winter sports will start up for their first full season since 2019. After a season filled with uncertainty, teams will have the opportunity to experience the true high school sports experience.
At this point in time, many of the COVID restrictions that the winter sports teams had to follow last year are gone. The basic restrictions are mandatory masks indoors and optional masks outdoors. Sports like basketball are required to wear masks while in the gym, but outdoor sports like soccer are not. There are sports like wrestling that still do weekly testing due to the high amount of contact the sport requires.
One of the biggest changes from last year is that fans will be allowed at games. The return of fans is the thing that coaches and athletes are most excited for this year. “I’m looking forward to getting on the court and actually playing basketball in front of the student body and the fans, and [to give] these kids the opportunity for the high school experience and to be part of this team,” said Matt Clawson, the Las Lomas varsity basketball coach.
A team that will be looking to improve this year is the Las Lomas varsity basketball team. Last year, the team finished their abbreviated schedule at 2-10. They are expected to return four players as well as some players who played part of the year on the junior varsity team and varsity. This year, the program is less focused on winning right away and more focused on assembling a dedicated team. “Our goals are to start building a successful basketball program. And what that means to us is [having] a team where everybody gives 100% all the time,” Clawson added. The team is much more concerned with the process of building a winning program rather than achieving immediate results.
One of the most successful Las Lomas teams over the past few years is the Las Lomas varsity soccer team. Over the last two seasons, they had a combined record of 33-3-2, and consistently made the playoffs with the exception of last year where there was not one, due to COVID. One phenomenon that is impacting the soccer team is the return of the rule that players cannot play on non-school ‘club’ or academy teams at the same time as the school team. As a result, the team has lost several players who decided to play outside of school soccer instead of Las Lomas soccer this year. Including graduating seniors, the team lost 8 out of 11 of their starters from last year. Despite the loss of players, the team is excited about what they are bringing back. “We have a really solid nucleus, along with some returning people,” Kurt Adkins, the Las Lomas varsity soccer coach said. Will Person and Zach Miller are the two senior captains who will lead the team this year after starting since their freshman year. Other notable returning players on the team include seniors Nick Custer and Will Graham, who have been on the varsity team since their sophomore year.
The Las Lomas wrestling team is another team that had a lot of success the past few years, and they aim to keep it that way this year. “Our goal is to maintain [the level of success we’ve had]. In other words, we want to win the Diablo Athletic League, we want to win our division, [and] to try to get as many wrestlers to the state tournament as possible” said Charlie Hong, one of the Las Lomas wrestling coaches. This year, the team will play against league opponents and in weekly tournaments, whereas last year they were restricted to meets set up by the participating schools.
Across all of the Las Lomas sports teams, there are different goals when it comes to winning and performance. However, the common goal of all of these teams is to give their athletes the ability to compete at the highest level possible and to give them the best high school sports experience possible. With that being said, the season should resemble a more traditional season in comparison to last year.