Eye of the Panther

The fall sports season through the eyes of its athletes

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Aya Kasim, Editor-in-Chief

In 2020, sports are enjoyed at a distance. “Adjustment” is the key word to describe the steps taken to ensure a safe season for both players and fans. However, these precautions–meets gathering in lesser crowds and a limited number of tickets sold for games–have come at a cost. No longer are all students able to attend these games or speak to athletes in class the next morning. Today, we overcome this lack of discourse by presenting what football, volleyball, swim, and cross country athletes have to say about their season so far:

 

Football: 

As of now, varsity football has played four non-district games, standing at 2-2. The progress they have made as a team was proven by their 24-7 victory against Southwest on October 15.

PC: Mackenzie Noakes

“At first we had trouble playing as a team and picking each other up, but we are now getting to learn how to play together as a whole and contribute to wins,” junior and linebacker Seth Bullard said. “The season so far has been exciting and promising. We have so much potential and have gotten better every week!”

Push and rigor is what has brought varsity to this point, ready as can be to go up against Boerne Champion in their first district game on October 23.

“Our coaches tell us that the scariest type of team is a team that has nothing to lose,” Bullard said. “I feel like playing with a chip on our shoulder helps us give 110% at all times.”

PC: Mackenzie Noakes

As any other year, the goal is to make the season memorable and long-lasting. Hours of practice, training, and absolute passion is what these players take to the field.  

“The highlight of my season to this point is knowing that I have given everything I had to every game.” Bullard said. “I hope we can give our senior football players the best season possible and leave everything on the field.”

 

Cross Country:

Despite all challenges and adjustments, both JV and Varsity Cross Country are having one of their best seasons. 

PC: MV Press

“This year, we have had/still are overcoming the rules regarding Covid-19, but we have gotten through these obstacles smoothly and made this year a game changer,” sophomore and varsity runner, Paiten Trowbridge said. “Our times are amazing and we all have become closer.”

October 17 marked a very successful meet for runners on all teams. JV boys and girls placed first overall, Girls Varsity placed third, and Boys Varsity first. 

PC: MV Press

“This past Saturday, our varsity guys team won the meet, beating one of the top teams in the region at their home course,” senior and varsity runner, Seth Hernandez said. “The season has been great. Every meet, our teams keep on improving and I can’t wait to see what we do at district.”

With Cross Country and all sports, fans are moved not by the numbers themselves, but the stories behind them. When recalling the highlight of her season so far, Trowbridge tells of when her best friend came to visit her at a meet days after the friend had a seizure. 

“She came to our meet, surprising us and I was overwhelmed with joy.” Trowbridge said. “I ran my PR (personal record) and hugged her right after I caught my breath.”

 

Swim:

With a sweeping victory of 17 first-place finishes out of 24 events in their first meet, swim continued to conquer with five 1st place finishes and improved times on October 17.

PC: MV Press

However, such triumph has not come easy.  

“So far this season has come with its ups and downs,” junior Helena Allen said. “We’ve had to overcome obstacles such as trying to find a place to practice or even the physical tolls of constantly having to put the masks on right after getting out of the water.”

The swim team is currently practicing at the pool in Castroville Regional Park; however, the changing weather will leave them without a practice space in two weeks. With most nearby pools closed or exclusive to the one campus this year, the team anxiously looks for someplace new. Despite such troubling currents, however, the team swims on.

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“A big part of swim for me is getting to see those times drop,” Allen said. “For the team I think we all support each other and keep one another motivated.”

 

Volleyball:

Today, JV and Freshman Volleyball both stand proudly undefeated as Varsity also dominates each of its games. 

PC: Alyssa Salazar

On October 9, Varsity defeated Southwest Legacy in straight sets 25-19; 25-19; 25-12. On the 13th, they crushed Eagle Pass Winn with scores of 25-7; 25-4; 25-9. And once again stood their ground on the 16th against Floresville in only 3 sets with scores of 25-21; 25-23; 25-20

“This season has been very successful,” junior Hailey Franke said. “All the players have put their hard work, time, and effort into everything that we do. It’s tiring, but worth all of our accomplishments.”

As most other sports, volleyball credits its coach for keeping them together and sane during this time.

“The team’s motivation comes from our coach,” Franke said. “Our biggest challenge this year has been working around COVID protocols and working with connections with new teammates all around, [but] no matter what, our coach pushes us to be the best we can be and nothing less.”

Together is how volleyball has spiked its challenges even when six feet apart. 

“The highlight of the season has been working with a great group of girls who have turned into my family,” Franke said. “I’ve grown and connected with every single one of them during a tough time in the world, and it makes all of us want to come to practice that much more. The gym is where we work our butts off, our happy place.”

 

Continue the conversation

As the seasons progress and games come and go, athletes will have so much more to say. When hearing of a victory or even a loss, do not hesitate to call or text the athletes you know. This year, we have merged the gap between work and home, student and teacher, family and friends, and now, sports and fans.