CA fall athletics season a success
October 22, 2020
A modified fall sports season has proven to be successful for Cheshire Academy’s student-athletes and community at large, as all six teams have been able to compete head-to-head with rival schools in over 30 contests.
Going into the fall semester, Cheshire Academy knew it would be difficult to proceed with a regular athletics program. On Aug. 5, prior to the start of the academic year, CA implemented a set of protocols that included no formal preseason, a reduced number of a games per week, and a limited game schedule. Weekly conversations were held between Associate Head of School David Dykeman, Director of the Health Center Debra Bond, and Director of Athletics Ed Banach to determine whether games would be played, and where they would take place. Strong relationships with other independent schools also contributed to weekly decisions.
As of late October, varsity football, varsity boys’ and girls’ soccer, varsity field hockey, varsity girls’ volleyball, and coed cross country have all had their opportunity to shine. Many of CA’s teams have played a limited number of schools; for example, varsity football exclusively squared off against the Salisbury School, while varsity field hockey was scheduled to play against Green Farms Academy, Hamden Hall, Canterbury, and Kingswood Oxford.
In the time of COVID-19, faculty and staff have worked to ensure that all risks of contracting the disease are mitigated before teams even arrive at game sites. Football players, for example, were tested for the coronavirus 72 hours prior to their games. Families and CA staff worked closely in partnership to make sure the testing was done, off campus, without interrupting the class schedules. Players also were provided face shields for their helmets to further reduce risks. Anyone on the sidelines—including the limited number of spectators, coaches, and other staff—was required to wear a face mask and practice social distancing. Laundry was done after each game, and equipment, such as balls, cones, and sticks, were disinfected.
Other changes have included seven-on-seven field hockey games, outdoor volleyball matches, and checking the players’ temperatures before the games. CA’s own protocols, as well as those of the NCAA for high-risk sports, were used to keep everyone safe.
Through flexibility and determination, the athletics program achieved several important goals this fall; most importantly, offering the opportunity for the students to take part in the integral Afternoon Program at CA. Students were able to participate in something that they train and look forward to every semester, practices and strength and conditioning sessions were held and, the opportunity for student-athletes to showcase their talents was made available. As quarterback Jack Brandon ’21 said about the fall season, “Despite the struggle with everything going on, it has been really amazing how our coaches have been able to get us practicing with each other and playing games, making it as close to a real season for us as they possible could have.”