I think most people would agree that your high school experience as a whole is much much more than the 5 classes you attend Monday through Friday. It’s also the many hours before and after school, where students are given a wide selection of clubs and sports to choose from, to help enrich their high school experience overall. These various clubs and sports offered by EHS give students a way to express themselves outside the classroom and also help students feel like part of smaller communities within the larger EHS community. The very heart and soul of EHS exists within these various activities offered throughout the school year, and it is extremely important to advocate to keep these extracurriculars during the 2020-2021 school year. Ensuring the continuation of Scholastic sports helps remind students that even though we are divided into an A day, B day schedule, everyone, either virtual or in person can all come together on the field.
With an extraordinary Fall season wrapping up on April 27th, the very same day Spring sports start, the future of sports at EHS is looking bright. It’s a stark comparison to the beginning of the year, where no one knew for certain if we’d have any sports at all this school year. When school started back in September, EHS planned to kick off fall sports the same way they always have, just with some added safety precautions, but due to a spike in COVID cases, the Fall Season was quickly shut down. Time went by, and to everyone’s dismay, the winter sports season was also canceled. Despite 2 out of 3 seasons being canceled up to this point, everyone still had high hopes that by the second half of the year, COVID cases would drop significantly and there would be a sizable opportunity to start interscholastic sports back up again. Over winter break, plans were being laid out to create a second Fall Season of sports that would start sometime in February. Athletic Director Kurisha Hoffman, school faculty, and Coaches laid the groundwork for this second Fall Season. Week after week, things suddenly began to fall into place and before we knew it, EHS students finally had our long-awaited fall season which would start February 13th, 2021.
This season would go onto be a monumental success in many ways, and for many teams, it’d be their best season in a long while. Varsity Field Hockey Coach Szymanski said that, “Despite our shortened and oddly timed season due to COVID, the EHS field hockey team was really successful! Our record was 8-2 and the huge highlight of our season was beating Kent Island for the first time since 2012.” Coach Szymanski played Field Hockey all four years of High School, and the win this year against Kent Island was particularly special for her since the last time EHS beat Kent was when she was playing as a senior on the EHS Field Hockey Team.
The Girls JV and Varsity Soccer teams both found success even in the midst of a challenging pandemic. Varsity soccer Coach Elle Pennington stated that “Despite the uncertainties, changes in game schedule, and changes in COVID protocols, the athletes were able to overcome adversity and find success against other competitive teams on the Eastern Shore. This season has been fun and one we will always remember!” The Girls Varsity Team has already won 6 games with 2 more left on the schedule, and it seems like there’s no stopping both JV and Varsity Girls Soccer teams.
The Girls Volleyball team also had a successful season, and only missed one game early on in their season due to the virus. Volleyball Coach Powell speaks on the tenacity and resilience her team showed the entire season. “We were plagued with injury or illness and even a quarantine (precautionary) but we continued to battle through… I can’t say enough about what an honor it was to have the opportunity to have a season and work with a group of young ladies that are so resilient and passionate.” Resilience and flexibility were common themes shown through all sports this past fall season. When it comes to being flexible and adapting to any situation, a great example of this can be seen through the Varsity Boys Soccer team. EHS Senior Andrew Matsche describes his final soccer season as being extremely unpredictable. “Games would get canceled hours before matches, and protocols of whether to wear masks would change very frequently as well.” Despite being kept on their toes constantly throughout the season, the Varsity Boys soccer team still managed to perform extremely well, most notably winning two very close games against St. Michaels and Kent Island, both of which went into overtime.
Another successful team this Fall season was the Varsity Football Team, who after some extremely memorable games, ended their season undefeated. Quarterback Ryan O’Connor goes on to explain what he believes to be the reason for his teams’ success this season, “I think that our team realizes what a blessing we were given to have a season, even a short one, and we haven’t taken it for granted.” Ryan described that a key to the team’s success has been the leadership demonstrated not just by coaches, but by the senior captains on the team as well. “When a team has great leadership outside of coaches and in players, I think that’s a key element in being successful because it means the players hold each other accountable.” You don’t have to be on the Football team to notice the bond the teammates have, and it was this bond that took the team all the way to the top this season. Ryan also noted the highlights of the season to be the two games Easton played between North Caroline and Stephen Decatur. “We beat North Caroline by coming back down from two 4th quarter deficits and scoring the game-winning touchdown and 2 point conversion on a long 2-minute drive, with no timeouts at the end of the game. It was the first time we beat them since 2014 and we broke their 30+ league winning streak.” That’s not all when it comes to exciting games this season. Ryan describes the game against Stephen Decatur as being, “One of the most hyped games we’ve played in a long time. Both teams had high-scoring spread offenses which you don’t typically see a lot on the bayside… We wanted to show we were the best team and best offense in the league…Our defense also stepped up in a major way and held their offense to only 20 points, giving us 42-20 win down in Decatur… It was truly a game that the bayside conference hasn’t seen in a long time and it was awesome to play in.” Earning the title of Bayside Champions is an outstanding accomplishment, an
The Cross-Country Team had their Fall season changed completely and had to adapt to a vastly different season than what they were accustomed to. These athletes had to adapt to playing a fall sport in early spring, and the courses that were run became far muddier due to harsher weather conditions. There was also a lack of competition due to COVID restrictions, and Cross-Country Coach Heinsohn said that “Usually, we have 4-5 teams at a meet which leads to stiffer competition. This year we ran against the same teams almost every week and the competition was just not there.” Despite the different terrain and lack of competition, “Cross Country athletes were ready to run regardless”, says Coach Heinsohn. “I haven’t heard the complaining this year about speed days or the number of miles they have had to run as I have in years past… part of it was the group of kids and their motivation being a young team was just fantastic, and part of it was that they were just ready to get back to some type of normal.”
Taking the words of Coach Heinsohn and many others to heart, it’s clear that regardless of the sport, everyone, students, parents, and coaches are just grateful to be able to play this year and come together as a team. Although EHS managed to put on a successful Fall season much later in the year, the same was unfortunately unable to be done for Winter sports, and sports that just couldn’t be adapted to play during the Pandemic. Despite not having a season this year, plans are still being made to ensure seniors that would have played, get a proper send-off. Mrs. Bowen and Mrs. Hoffman are working together to host a senior night for these sports at the end of April, where coaches get the opportunity to honor the seniors and their athletic and academic accomplishments from years prior. These sports include Boys and Girls Basketball, Wrestling, Indoor Track, Ice Hockey, Winter Cheer, and Swimming.
The 2020-2021 school year at Easton High School has been anything but normal, but despite the many setbacks, the students, coaches, and faculty members at EHS have managed to kick off a very successful year of sports. Despite how late we are in the school year, with all the upcoming sporting events and the start of the Spring season, it could be said that the EHS interscholastic sports roster is all just getting started.