Winter athletic season put on hold amid Covid-19 spikes


Photo credit: Bella Yoakam

With another set back, North athletes work hard to stay safe in hope that their season will start soon. “Currently, there is not a plan to cancel winter sports, but guidelines and requirements are ever changing,” athletic director Michelle Davis said.

By Colin Duffy and Bella Yoakam

On Jan. 21, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services postponed winter sports once again despite seeing overwhelmingly negative test results from Michigan high school football players during the 2020 fall season: 99.67 percent, according to the Michigan High School Athletic Association.

Senior varsity hockey captain Nick Asimakis believes the postponement of the season has been unfair considering the data provided by the MHSAA. 

Seeing such a staggering success rate for negative test results in high school football, I’m not sure how Governor Whitmer would not at least give us a shot,” Asimakis said. 

The new guidelines state that non-contact sports such as gymnastics and all swim teams are eligible to practice and compete as long as they are socially distanced and follow protocol.

However, not all winter sports are allowed to proceed right away. Contact sports such as basketball, wrestling, ice hockey and competitive cheer are not able to start any contact practices until Feb. 21.

Athletic director Michelle Davis and her staff have been preparing for whatever other orders may come from Lansing, as the start date for the winter sports season carousels. 

“We continue on a day-to-day basis until the MHSAA and the MDHHS change restrictions,” Davis said. 

Davis wishes that winter sports can return swiftly and safely as schools are almost near the halfway point of what would have been a “normal” winter season. 

Following the delays, many student athletes worry that they are going to have to work harder than before to compensate for lost time. Although other schools and competition have been dealt the same hand, many believe that constructing a successful winter season will be a challenge. 

 Junior varsity girls basketball coach James Winowicki worries the lack of conditioning will be a driving set back for his girls to overcome.

“Having to take three weeks to regain conditioning again is going to be very difficult when we have to play a game only a week after restarting,” Winowicki said.

However, some players have taken matters into their own hands to ensure their team is physically ready and capable for a successful season. Asimakis and the varsity hockey team have safely trained on their own, while wearing masks and practising social distancing, as they prepare to head back to the rink in the near future. 

“I’ve been grinding with the boys both on and off the ice,” Asimakis said. 

Asimakis is confident that he will be able to play his last hockey season as a Norsemen, however long that takes.

In preparation of resuming athletics, MHSAA has also begun to implement previously required guidelines. For the safety of players and coaches, MHSAA has once again restricted spectators in the stands to two fans per athlete. Winowicki explains that although having less people to watch and cheer on may be discouraging for players, it is the safest for everyone.

“Having supporters in the stands made it much easier to get excited and motivated to compete,” Winowicki said.