Gear up or pack it up? Lacrosse season faces uncertainty

Jake Pizzi, Staff Writer

The girls and boys lacrosse teams are facing challenges while they gear up and condition for their season, with COVID-19 cases on the rise again. However, even with looming uncertainties about the pandemic, teams are working to strengthen bonds and keep safe. 

There are no more big huddles; everyone has to line up in rows. All players must wear a mask if they are not actively playing and wearing their helmets unless they are able to socially distance themselves. 

Many teams are also facing problems where they can not find a field to practice on that is not overly crowded. At one point, Central was trying to crowd girls and boys lacrosse, flag football, spring football, as well as soccer all onto three fields to practice.

Even though Palm Beach Central High School’s lacrosse teams have not seen any cases, our cross town rivals at Wellington High School have. The two schools collaborate together on the Aces Lacrosse Travel Team, and luckily, travel tournaments have not seen any outbreaks in the past few months. 

With many cancellations of games and seasons, the boy’s lacrosse team is worried about their season. Not only is this year affected, but so was last year. 

“COVID has affected the lacrosse season in many ways, but the main reason is our season getting cut short last year,” said Ryan Rundle, junior attack and number 11 on the lacrosse team. “At games and tournaments, you have to wear a mask and follow all the precautionary measures. COVID has really brought the lacrosse team closer together.”

Other players from the boy’s team feel their chemistry and bonds have suffered, which will in turn put the team’s performance at risk. 

“COVID has affected the lacrosse season and community because social distancing has reduced the amount of team bonding we have been able to do,” explained Dougherty Shoenfelt, junior defensive player and number 17 on the lacrosse team. “Social distancing and masks are enforced at all games when you are not playing, and that is a huge change compared to the big tent filled with teams hanging eating and hydrating before and after games.”

Beyond boys lacrosse, girls lacrosse shares the same fears. They feel that many things have been done to combat the spread of the virus. 

“The sport of lacrosse has handled how COVID has impacted conditioning and training pretty well,” stated sophomore Tori Labeau. 

Also, the teams are worried that they cannot complete their team-building exercises to bond with each other. 

“We are all still able to practice stick skills on our own time, as well as conditioning on our own time, but the pre-season training and conditioning last year was helpful in creating bonds with other teammates as well as getting insight from coaches more often which we cannot do now,” outlined LaBeau. 

Furthermore, the girl’s lacrosse team continues to suffer from COVID. Last year in March, there was no senior night as the game was canceled, so Jupiter and Central had to share one.

The coronavirus continues to affect the team, especially with travel game days.  

“We aren’t allowed to condition anymore and there are less games,” stated senior Christina Hermida. “The players on the sideline are much more separated from each other and there are less people on the stands.” 

Luckily, COVID has not spread through the lacrosse teams, but it has still affected both teams mentally and physically. They cannot all pack into the weight room together, which was once a possibility.

“They are trying to come up with different ways to incorporate training with small amounts of players at different times,” stated Hermida. 

The boy’s team also is finding new ways to train safely, without spreading the virus. 

“The team has handled training very well. We have had practice every week since the beginning of September with no cases,” stated Shoenfelt. “Although we practice differently, we won’t let this affect how the course of our season goes. We are still going to work hard and do all the things we can to get better every day.”

While training may be under wraps, the future of practices is unknown. As with many things during the pandemic, the amount of cases come springtime could be cut in half or possibly have doubled in quantity. 

“I think COVID has affected the lacrosse season by hindering the ability to practice before the season starts as well as conditioning as a team before the season starts,” stated LaBeau. “I think the new rules at games and tournaments that lacrosse follows because of COVID cases surging will help stop cases. I think that both competing teams will have to get COVID tests done frequently before the game, and if anyone tests positive the entire team may not be able to play that game.”

As with any other sport, the health and safety of the athletes come first. However, we wish both the boys and girls lacrosse teams a safe and successful season. 

For more information on Central’s athletic COVID guidelines