Varsity basketball captain leads team through hard year

With+big+smiles+on+their+faces%2C+the+boys+varsity+basketball+team+stands+alongside+one+another+before+the+start+of+a+big+game.++

Jeff Dunn

With big smiles on their faces, the boys varsity basketball team stands alongside one another before the start of a big game.

Molly Ross, Staff Writer

COVID-19 has affected many student-athletes, but the WHS boys varsity basketball team is working to still have a successful season. Senior varsity basketball team captain Will VanHouten is spearheading this effort by working to make his team’s season as memorable as possible.

“As a leader on the team, I’m hoping to set the stage for open communication and strong collaboration,” VanHouten said. “It may be more difficult with COVID involved this year, but I’m excited about the opportunity we have to still be one of the best teams Weston has seen.”

Head Coach of the boys’ varsity basketball team David First described VanHouten’s role on his team.

“He encourages all the players and coordinates different ways to keep the team engaged. One of the hardest things is that nobody can visualize sports starting because it has been such a hard time for everybody, but Will has always stayed positive and made sure he can continue to play while dragging his teammates along with him,” First said. “He is the kind of kid that you want to build a team around, and I have always seen that in him since freshman year.”

In addition to his coach, Van Houten’s teammate commented on his commitment and communication towards the other players.

“Every day he motivates us to get better and get in the gym together, whether it is to play pick up or maybe work on our dribble or shot,” junior Isiah Kacyvenski said. “I strongly believe that if he wasn’t with us, we would lose a vital part of our team chemistry.”

Although he is making his best of it, VanHouten continued on how such a sentimental sport to him has been changed so drastically due to the virus.

“The virus has impacted almost every element of the season. Most disappointing for me is missing the State Tournament opportunity. We were in a great position to win this year. However, I am still excited we will have the opportunity to play and compete as of now,” VanHouten said.

Other teammates added on the struggles of playing a team sport in a pandemic.

“Although we try our best to not let the virus affect us, it is really hard not to,” senior Christos Iatridis said. “Practice prior to tryouts was very limited with being allowed to play because of the uncertainty in the mass state guidelines. Usually, everyone has shaken off the rust after a few days after tryouts, but for this year, it took over a week.”

As well as other teammates, VanHouten’s co-captain commented on the team’s ability to stay in contact with one another.

“The virus has made us all really look at the situation in a more positive way, and see how limited our time together is. I feel that all the guys are starting to value it a lot more because we know how shortened our season is,” senior co-captain Alton Jenkins said.

Despite the struggles the virus has brought to many players on the team, First described the importance of the sport to the boys at this time.

“It will be a great escape and an opportunity to not just sweat but also work on your craft, which is playing great basketball as a team,” First said.

Although VanHouten loves to play and win, the sport holds a much deeper importance to him.

“I have also always enjoyed the relationships and challenges that come with it. My hope is that we’ll get to play together this year, which doesn’t seem like a big goal but it’s turning out to be a one during COVID,” VanHouten said. “Assuming we get to play, I’m hoping to have a very successful regular season and win the DCL tournament!”