Written By: Christina Chen
Graphic By: Jane Wilson
On November the 1, posters went up around Las Lomas promoting different winter sport tryout dates and times. Among these winter sports is the wrestling team coached by Charlie Hong, the boys soccer team coached by Kurt Adkins and the girls basketball team coached by Mavin Delos Santos. With COVID-19 restrictions more relaxed in comparison to last year, these sports are able to practice and improve more with the promise of winning a North Coast Section (NCS) championship.
For wrestling, more relaxed social distancing protocols meant that the team was able to practice indoors. “Last year we were on the field and we couldn’t have contact . . . we were essentially doing conditioning workouts now we are wrestling,” said Coach Charlie Hong. Sophomore Devan Blackwell-Guevara said, “[It was] a lot harder because last year, there wasn’t much contact involved because of COVID-19 and other restrictions we had to do. We were outdoors, we weren’t allowed in the gym at all.” The wrestling team had good turnout this year and Coach Hong said he was “ . . . looking forward to actually competing in tournaments and . . . having matches against other schools that aren’t just local like our season was last year.” Other wrestling team members shared similar things. Sophomore Gabriel Garcia said, “I’m just gonna go back and try to do my best.” Blackwell-Guevara said he was looking forward to “having a good season [and] the whole team doing good this year.”
Outdoor sports like boys’ soccer weren’t as affected by COVID-19 restrictions as indoor sports. Boys’ soccer coach Kurt Adkins said: “ . . . [this season] wasn’t a lot different. We were a lot more cautious with being masked in closed areas. We tried not to be in closed areas . . . we’ve got a really good quality of people . . . we’ve got some really, really fine soccer players.” Co-captains Zachary Miller and William Person both voiced their thoughts as well. Person said, “ . . . we have a lot more coming together that we need to do in terms of a team off the field. Because last year, we had a bunch of guys from the same club team, and this year we’re from all over the place. So it will just take a lot more time like getting to know one another and each other’s styles.” Miller spoke of a new tempo to the team this year, “ . . . the style of play has been a little different. A little less of, you know, big, strong, fast players and more technical players. So that’s been a little bit different.” Coach Adkins said, “ . . . the skill set of the players this year is different so we find a way to take the skill set, put it together. A lot of these players play on different club teams so they haven’t played together a lot. So I think finding the right way to play our lineup using their skill sets, their collective skill sets. That’s gonna be the challenge, but it’s a fun thing [that] I love. I love that challenge.”
Since basketball is also an indoor sport, it was largely affected as well. Varsity and JV basketball coach Marvin Delos Santos said, “this year I got two teams just like I did pre-COVID. [Last year] I only had one team [which] dwindled all the way down to 10 [players]. So we were barely hanging in there. I mean, we were able to do a five on five practice, but for the most part, very different.” Senior Kaya Toor added, “last year they were really strict about COVID-19 restrictions and you have to keep your mask on this year. They’re a little less strict and we can all be closer together. We’re more like a team, not as separated.” Senior Isabela de la Cruz stated, “this year, I think because we get to have the full court to ourselves and the whole gym, we’re able to focus a little more and just divide all our attention to just our practice and not get distracted.” When asked what he was looking forward to this season, Coach Delos Santos said, “I’m looking forward just to have things normal again. Just to be able to coach the girls the way I was coaching pre-COVID. I mean, having the mask on and them having to play with the mask, it’s pretty difficult. They’re gonna get tired and I just hope at some point things get normal again. And you know, we’re able to teach them and play without the masks.” Senior Kailani Reis-Weiland said, “I’m looking forward to just playing and having a full season because our season got cut short last year. Yeah. Just playing with all my teammates.” Senior Kyleigh Tibbets stated, “ . . . just playing with other people and being around athletic people other than just like my friends at school, so it’s nice being on a sports team again.” Although the girls basketball team was held back last year, they were able to adapt. This year, they are back in the gym and ready to improve even more.
As winter sports get back into full swing, teams will be participating in more scrimmages and games than last year. Although there may be more preparation necessary as compared to previous years, there’s no doubt that these teams will perform well despite the hardships of last year. Teams this winter will also be competing for an NCS championship, something that the previous season did not permit due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Boys basketball team responded after the magazine was sent to print.
Any missing sports didn’t respond to email request for interviews.