Upcoming high school sports seasons during the next academic year may not occur due to COVID-19 concerns. Several East Islip and Islip student athletes (and parents) discussed how the current …
Upcoming high school sports seasons during the next academic year may not occur due to COVID-19 concerns. Several East Islip and Islip student athletes (and parents) discussed how the current atmosphere potentially alters the plan of any student athlete, especially seniors.
Deirdre Carney is an incoming senior at East Islip High School. She expressed concern for her younger teammates on the varsity volleyball team.
“They are going to lose that opportunity to play with the seniors that have been playing for a while,” she said.
Noah Whitehouse, an incoming junior at Islip High School, plays football in the fall, basketball in the winter, and lacrosse in the spring. He pointed out, similarly to Carney, that plenty of high school athletes will be negatively impacted.
“Some kids are not fortunate enough to be playing club lacrosse or any other club sports. So high school sports is something that they only have. And that could be gone in the blink of an eye, for all they know,” said Whitehouse, who aspires to play lacrosse at the college level.
As a high school athlete interested in becoming a college athlete, scouting is the typical method used to judge players. With games not occurring for an upcoming season, scouts cannot attend games or acquire footage of gameplay, and athletes must find other avenues of catching a college coach’s interest.
“With this virus, everything has changed. Coaches don’t have the full ability to look at us now. People have been telling me you have to send out emails to college coaches. You have got to get your name out there,” Whitehouse said. “But fortunately, I have had a bunch of tournaments to get my name out there.”
Some senior student athletes have expressed concern with the lack of data for their senior season. Carney said in addition to the school-affiliated season, there is a club volleyball team that she partakes in that is off-season from the varsity schedule. But the remaining two months of the club season this year were canceled due to COVID-19.
“A bunch of college scouts go [the club games] to watch players. [This year, there were a] lot of missed opportunities,” said Carney, who also typically participates on the track team for East Islip during the winter and spring seasons.
Joe Raso is a senior at East Islip High School and plays soccer. Despite typically playing soccer year-round (including indoor soccer in the winter), it may be considered unsafe when that time of year comes around. That lack of experience for players and tape for scouts forms a large gap for potential data necessary to determine or measure an athlete’s skill, for example.
“You can just talk to coaches, but you don’t have anything to show,” said Raso, who plays striker for the varsity team and center midfielder for his club team.
Sophia Worst is a senior and plays field hockey at East Islip High School. She has been a starter on the varsity team since she was a freshman and ver- bally committed to playing field hockey at a Division I school, Wagner College. Worst expressed disappointment knowing it’s possible she may not play field hockey in an East Islip jersey again.
“I was looking forward to being a captain this year and leading my team into playoffs and maybe even a county championship,” Worst said, adding that the lack of opportunities to play can be detrimental to development, not only ath- letically or performing in a sport, but in life. “With sports, you learn teamwork, you learn hard work, you learn how to motivate yourself. All those things, you need for other aspects of life. And if people don’t get those, then how are they going to succeed in a future job? I think it is something to keep notice about.”
Islip incoming senior Jack Spahn also plans to play his sport, wrestling, at the next level. He said that a canceled wrestling season this winter would impact him. However, he also expressed he is not concerned that an opportunity may pass by.
“I know what I am capable of. I know that if a coach from any college wanted to come watch me wrestle, I am going to do what I was told to do and what I was taught and just go out there and wrestle,” Spahn said, adding that the virus’ effects on the upcoming season are not within his control.
Spahn said, though, that he has needed to contact coaches in order to establish interest and communication with Division 1 teams.
The student athletes interviewed for Islip and East Islip schools each expressed at least aspirations to play their sports at the next level. Season cancellations have not been finalized for most sports, but several sports seasons remain in jeopardy of following through during the upcoming academic year.