Across the field, into the spotlight: DSA SOCCER
BY Srikar Kaligotla
PHOTO CREDIT: SRIKAR KALIGOTLA
NCSSM play number 23 helps stretch out Giacomo Hardin after he
gets a cramp. Sportsmanship on a team is a key for success.
Refs blow the whistle, silence falls, players and? coaches jump up into the air, the student section goes wild, clapping, screaming, and shouting.
School spirit is always in the air at the Durham School of the Arts. It could be for any sport: volleyball, basketball, baseball. But soccer always brings a different vibe to the school. Soccer at DSA has always been a highly competitive sport. In the last 2-3 years DSA soccer has won conference and made it to states. With the big achievements they have moved up a division. Durham School of the Arts currently ranks number 2 in the new 3A division. Due to the high prospects playing for DSA and the numerous successes, they have been moved to a newer division, which means newer teams.
“New teams like Webb, we still have Carrboro, North Carolina School of Science and Math is not in our school anymore, the competition is a little better, but not that much better” Kayin Wiltshire, Senior Center back, commented.
Even with the soccer team competing in a totally new division, there is still the same
old, and still very dangerous global pandemic, which has brought some very difficult challenges to the team.
“With COVID-19 we have had to take a lot of COVID protocols into account, we have to enter on one side of the field, and exit on the other side and we have to be wearing masks during practice” Jacob Franke, Junior Goalie, stated.
Even though vaccinations have come out,for the age group from 16-18 years of age, the basic needs of drinking water and breathing require social distancing due to the high contact from one player to another on and off the soccer field.
“Well obviously we have to wear a mask while we play, depending on the situation we can have the mask down when we are playing, but when we are like static, not doing anything, or getting/drinking water we have to social distance and keep our masks up” Wiltshire said.
Even with COVID present in our school and home environment, they still had their soccer season to take place. It wasn’t the prettiest start for the team in general starting below .500 at 2-4 with losses to schools, Riverside Highschool, Franklinton HighSchool, and Research Triangle HighSchool. Since the 2-4 start, they have won 4 straight beating teams like North Carolina School of Science and Math, Southern Highschool, Woods Charter, Vance County.
“Coaches aggression, and players aggression towards us, for us to get better, Mr.Key was talking about us running at like 7am, we do that almost everyday, so it's been paying off well” Wiltshire shared.
The major turnaround could be also attributed to the team getting comfortable with the playing atmosphere.
“I think just the fact that everyone was kind of used to getting back to normal, we were able to kind of get back into the rhythm of things, and start practicing and getting better as a team,” Franke stated.
For seniors this is the last dance, their final stretch, make it or break it, but one thing is common in all seniors, they want to step up and leave their high school soccer career on a high note not only for them, but their legacy at DSA.
“We are just going to give it our all, Me, Jaiden, Kevin, and all the seniors, about to give it our all this season” Wiltshire exclaimed.
Wrestling with COVID: Fighting for a Breath
BY HAU TUNG
As the slam continues, both wrestlers are tired from the match. With only seconds left in the match, boom goes the mat as one gets pinned. 1 2 3 counts the ref as the winner emerges from the floor breathless. Both shake hands and walk back to their sides with their masks back on.
Since the start of the COVID-19, pandemic mask mandates have been required in schools at all times except when eating lunch. So sports are no exception, especially in a close contact sport like wrestling. . The mask may inhibit the wrestler's ability to breathe during stamina training like running stairs or just regular running. This can also impact the amount of conditioning that the wrestlers are able to do and changes the amount of intense practices that they are able to have. Also forcing the coaches to change their routine and practices.
“I give credit to a lot of kids because it makes it 10 times harder to breathe and you can’t really function like you want to,” Coach Javier explained.
This was only the beginning of problems as the season started there were a lot of restrictions on what could be done. But the main one started during the thick of the pandemic.
“Last year during the thick of it, there was no season at all because of the close proximity and not being able to socially distance,” Jack Williamson, a Junior on the wrestling team at DSA, explained.
With there already being changes in rules and regulation, match days are also facing the same changes.
“During the match you're allowed to have the mask off but after the match you have to put them back on” Williamson stated.
With new protocols and regulations added to the new season, there were also concerns for the health of the wrestlers.
“Personally I feel safe and fine because I am vaccinated so I don't fear catching COVID” Williamson said.
There were a lot more problems with wrestling this year, but Coach does believe that they can make it to regionals and even states.
“If the guys keep putting in the hardwork and pushing themselves they can make.It the mindset ” Coach Javier concluded.
With new mandates having to be followed and other challenges piled on top of each other, the season is having a rough start. And with this year being anything but normal, it looks like it’s going to be an uphill battle. But Coach does have a message for everyone who's wrestling during COVID.
“You need to have the right mentality when you go into your match you can’t be afraid or get discouraged, we’re always gonna be there to motivate you and help you be the best wrestler you can be, so all you need to have is the right mindset“ Javier concluded.