BRISTOL, R.I. (WPRI) — Student-athletes have dealt with a lot of cancellations throughout the COVID-19 pandemic but this fall, some sports will be able to play.
Last week, Gov. Gina Raimondo announced that only outdoor school sports will be able to play this fall, however, that won’t include football at least to start. Volleyball also will not be allowed to play.
Girls tennis and boys and girls cross country will be able to compete with minimal changes, according to the governor, while boys and girls soccer, sideline cheer, and field hockey will compete with modifications.
Raimondo said approved sports can begin workouts and practices on Sept. 21, then competitions will be held from early October through Thanksgiving.
The Mt. Hope High School girls tennis team says while their season is abbreviated, they’re just excited they’ll be able to do what they love.
“We have to eliminate a few things like handshakes and different things like that, but for the most part, the normalcy is just like years past,” Coach Geoff Keegan said.
Keegan is the coach of the Division II reigning champion tennis team at Mt. Hope. This year, they still have their eye on the championship title, but the perspective has changed.
“This year we have up to like 18 seniors this season,” team captain Anne Krzywicki said. “A lot of seniors this year!”
The senior captains say tennis is more than just a sport, it helps build friendships and they feel bad for seniors in contact sports like football, or indoor sports like volleyball, that were canceled for the fall.
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“This is not how anyone expected their senior year to go and the sports that they love this is their final year to maybe even play the sport if they’re not playing in college,” captain Catie Quesnelle said.
Meanwhile, Keegan is studying the new guidelines from the state saying, “We’ve even talked about potentially using multiple cans of tennis balls, so they’re not even sharing those.”
The team said that while they are starting to plan for the first day of tryouts and practices in a couple of weeks, they are still waiting to get more guidance from the R.I. Interscholastic League on how exactly it will all play out.
RIIL said they will adopt a four-season model, with sports unable to play in the fall potentially playing between the winter and spring seasons.