SHS teams eager to resume “normalcy” ahead of 2021-2022 season
By Skyla Clarke, Staff Writer
SANFORD, Maine – Winter Sports have officially started at Sanford High School and they’re looking much different than the previous year’s pandemic-related red tape. While there are still many COVID-related rules and regulations, sports are back and feeling closer to a new normal.
Athletic Director Gordie Salls praises teams – coaches and athletes alike – for their efforts navigating through the pandemic.
“Both the athletes and coaches have handled this pandemic tremendously,” said Salls. “I believe they have been overlooked for their efforts to continuously make the programs work during this difficult time.”
Salls and our winter sports teams are ready to get to work. Here’s a preview of what Spartan Sports fans have to look forward to.
Last year, the wrestling team lost their season due to COVID 19. This year, however, they are now ready for anything this season throws at them.
“This year the possible vaccine mandate was a challenge, but since then we don’t have to worry about that too much,” said Nate Smith, Head Wrestling Coach. Masks are mandated at all times but have not seemed to be a problem.
Last year in 2020/21, things were different for the wrestling team due to Covid. Their wrestling coach Nate Smith, hosted zoom meetings. From home the students participating in the winter sport would practice calisthenics and shadow drilling. So due to no physical practice last year, the wrestling team is excited to start practicing in person this year.
When it comes to the main goals for this season, Coach Smith is expecting to be top three in the region, and top five in the state.
Smith is excited for his upcoming roster and the progress that they have made, noting some particular returners including James Blood, Chap Callous, Kyle Nickerson and Hunter Stevens, as well as some exciting newcomers such as James Chaplick, Luke Callous and Kadden Hill.
Coach Smith and the team are excited to travel this season and resume a feeling of normalcy. Most states have different rules and regulations, especially now when it comes to Covid 19. “We’ll end up obviously following the school guidelines,” said Smith. “But it will be interesting to see how other states are dealing with this and it will help us kind of plan out for the rest of our year.
Sanford High School’s wrestling team is excited for tournaments and is itching to reach victory this year.
As for the cheer team, they didn’t have a season last year either. There were no tryouts and everything was online. Their competitions were judged remotely by judges, according to Lauren Roy, Assistant Cheer Coach and English teacher.
“Initially, we couldn’t mix up stunt groups which was really challenging,” Roy said.They faced challenges with limiting routes and missing parts like the pyramid because there were too many touching and close contact risks.
Due to those restrictions, the cheerleaders are excited to perform again this year.
For top returners, Roy credits Izzy Tremblay as a well-rounded cheerleader, along with Sophia Corliss.
Roy also mentioned a handful of newcomers that will add to the program. “We have a group of really talented freshmen who are pushing themselves – Ali Long, Taylor Coffey, Shania Provencher and Natalie Lam – are all gaining skills each day,” Roy said. “For her first year, Sam Phillips has brought a lot to our squad.
The cheer team wants to score at least third or fourth at the Southern Maine Regionals and to qualify for States. To do this, the cheer team needs to work really hard this season to reach their goals, according to Roy.
The cheer team is most excited to be going back to a “competitive atmosphere” and live competitions. “We miss the energy of the mat and a full routine in person and can’t wait to get back to it,” Roy said.
The swim team’s 2021 season was mostly against the Massabesic High School’s swim team, according to Swim Captain Senior Celia Perks. And all of their meets were located at the Sanford-Springvale YMCA.
The biggest challenge for the swim team was keeping the team together and keeping excitement despite their challenges, says Perks. “We had about four swimmers who had to quarantine the entire season, and keeping spirits up at the meets was difficult given our trying times.”
This year’s swim team captains are seniors Celia Perks, Olivia Roux, Annie Cyr and Anthony Signore, who round out the list of top returners, along with fellow seniors Daylin Soule and Justin Gould. Underclassmen stand-out returners include juniors Kora Eckelman and Abbey Gifford.
There’s also no shortage of newcomers, according to Perks, sharing that seniors Will Kiley, Ari Hebert and Jacob Vitale all show great potential.
The team’s goal this season is to win more than half of their meets, which will take a lot of energy and skill.
The team is excited to travel this year given the lack of it last season. The meets that are scheduled will take a lot of energy out of the swimmers and can be really competitive, but Perks is hopeful the team will step up to the challenge.
Overall, Sanford High School is proud to have the opportunity to participate in sports and is more than excited to compete.
Preview on men’s and women’s basketball and Unified basketball to come.