Modified Fall Sports at WHS


Micheal McGrath

Senior co-captain’s Jackson Tabors and Nick Ginovker defends a Waltham player in their soccer match.

Emilia Tutun, Sports Editior

After months of uncertainty, Weston High School and the MIAA decided to have fall sports this 2020 season. However, this modified season includes new rules, guidelines, and the only sports allowed to play this season are field hockey, soccer, cross-country, and golf. 

“Most sports right now have modifications that we are all trying to adapt to and they may seem very different or change the way we have always played, but it definitely beats the alternative of not playing,” athletic director of 10 years Michael McGrath said. 

As a result of the new rules, many fall sports had to change their styles of play. 

“Some new rules that may immediately stick out when watching an event will be the change from 11 v 11 in field hockey to 7 v 7, [and] no corners this year. In soccer [there are] no heading the ball, corner kicks, or slide tackles. In cross-country, we have staggered starts. Golf has the fewest modifications and the concentration there is on mask-wearing, no handshakes, and keeping your own scorecard,” McGrath said. 

Despite these restrictions, boy’s soccer head coach Andrey Aasparouhouv revealed how his team is adapting to the new rules. 

“I was skeptical when I saw the guidelines at first, [because] we had to change the whole concept of high school soccer: physicality, set pieces, attacking, and defending are all different now,” Aasparouhouv said.

One of the new requirements of fall sports is having a Covid Coach present at each game. 

[The] ‘Covid Coach’ is there to ensure all Covid protocols are being adhered to. [They] wash down soccer balls in between quarters, make announcements to spectators on social distancing and mask-wearing, [and] watch that both home and visiting teams are following the protocols on the field of play,” McGrath revealed. 

Additionally, there is now a limited number of fans allowed to attend games. 

“This fall the DCL decided to issue a lanyard for each student-athlete. Only one family member wearing a lanyard initially was allowed to come watch their son/daughter,” McGrath said. “Our idea behind the one lanyard per family was to better be able to contract trace should players or a spectator contract Covid-19.”

Aasparouhouv commented on how his team is adapting to the new rules. 

“In practices, we have to work mostly on technicality. [Also] we focus on how players’ can use their skills and not their physical strength. In games, corner kicks and throw-ins used to be huge weapons, [but] now these elements have considerably less impact on the outcome of every game,” Aasparouhouv said. “However, the team is dealing well with these different but necessary changes. The players are doing everything possible to stay positive and enjoy [their] season.”

Similarly, junior Caitlyn Rhatigan revealed how girls’ varsity field hockey is dealing with the new rules.

“Although the new COVID rules have been difficult and challenging for us at field hockey, I think that as a team we have figured out how to deal with them while still having fun and playing competitively,” Rhatigan stated. 

However, not all of the WHS teams are adjusting well to the new rules such as cross-country. 

“We don’t have run in masks for races which is a plus, but the way the races work this year is really mentally tough,” sophomore cross-country runner Analiese Shact said. “No one knows what place you are in, or if the people starting in waves behind you are beating you in terms of time. This is because each group starts 30 seconds apart from each other.”

Despite the changes to fall sports, McGrath remains positive about the future of sports at WHS. 

“I am a very optimistic person, so my hope is as we move forward through the seasons, things will begin to look more and more like a traditional sports season. That said, I have no doubt there will be sport modifications through the spring season – some more noticeable than others,” McGrath said. “WHS will persevere and I know our student-athletes will make the most of every situation. Weston athletes are dedicated, hardworking, and great representatives of our school and I believe they will hurdle any obstacle they encounter to have the chance to play sports as the year progresses.”