One year after the Covid pandemic changed life as we know it, Holton’s Upper School sports teams are beginning to compete in interscholastic matchups once again. On Monday, March 1, fall sports started the competitive part of their season, practicing fully each afternoon and beginning to participate in scheduled contests with both Flint Hill and Holy Child. Friday, March 12 was the first of those competitions, with fall athletes in grades 9 and 10 facing off against Holy Child.
Varsity Soccer Coach Ben Ferry is among the many Holton coaches, staff, and administrators who have worked hard to maintain continuity in athletics while the School has operated in hybrid mode and with strict Covid-mitigation protocols. He and fellow coaches have held both virtual and in-person practices to focus on skill- and team-building in a safe environment, and he says he has been impressed by athletes’ resilience, flexibility, and commitment to continuing to grow in their sport(s) during these challenging times.
But as he was reminded this past Friday, there’s nothing like getting back on the field to put skills to the test against another team. He notes, “The realities of life are that we seldom appreciate what we have until it has been taken from us. I never truly appreciated how much watching our athletes compete has filled my vessel through the years. To see kids again being allowed to do what they love and play a competitive game is one of the great joys in sport, and I couldn’t be more grateful to again be a witness. We are back!”
Madeline Feldner ’23 echoed Ferry’s excitement. “Playing with my field hockey team again in our first game Friday made me realize how much I missed Holton sports,” she says. “Competing with my teammates was amazing and I am so grateful we have the opportunity to play again. Even better, we scored so many goals and played so well together. It was a great day.”
The (rescheduled) fall sports season will continue through the start of April and conclude with another contest on April 9 against Flint Hill. Spring sports will then take the field on April 12 for the competitive part of their season. With even more students returning to campus, Holton is excited to have an even more robust schedule. The School will be scheduling weekly contests with other Independent School League (ISL) schools such as Bullis, Holy Child, Maret, NCS, Sidwell, and Stone Ridge.
The ISL is not sponsoring a league championship this year, so Holton will continue focusing on helping students to develop fundamental skills, work together and bond as a team, and have fun while enjoying the opportunity to stretch competitive muscles against other schools. Currently, no spectators are allowed at any practices or games because of Covid protocols, but the School is continuing to explore ways that our community can share in the excitement of having sports back in action. ISL schools have worked very hard in coordination with one another to offer these contests to athletes, and Holton’s coaches and athletic staff are continually working to keep our athletes safe, both on-campus and at away contests.
We look forward to cheering on our Panthers in spirit the rest of the 2020-2021 school year!
Go Blue! Go White!