Slow start for “fall” sports

Our sports teams at Guilford have had a rough start to their sports seasons. Due to COVID-19, the fall sports season was pushed to the spring.

The number of positive COVID-19 cases and close contacts continued to rise in the on-campus testing session a few weeks ago. Guilford College’s sports teams were on a mandated two-week pause, leaving teams wondering if they would even have a chance to play this season. 

So far men’s and women’s soccer and football have had a chance to hit the field for their 2020-2021 season. The football team began their season on Feb. 23 with a 44-0 loss to Randolph-Macon. 

“Most of the teams in the ODAC were practicing in full pads since August, giving them months to practice, install and learn their schemes,” said senior Tyler Wilson. “Meanwhile, we were given three weeks at the beginning of February to prepare for our first game.”

On top of little practice time, Wilson said that the team was missing several of their key players. 

“During the last game we were missing our whole offensive line due to a COVID-19 quarantine because one offensive lineman tested positive,” Wilson explained. “So, to play this game we had to move (the) defensive lineman over to the offensive side of the ball and teach and train them in two weeks.” 

The football team’s next game will be at Emory and Henry on March 12. 

The Guilford women’s soccer team suffered two losses against Washington and Lee and Lynchburg, scoring nothing in the combined games. After recognizing that the team had several things to work on, sophomore Gracie Mayer sees the good in the situation. 

“I think one of our team’s biggest strengths so far has been our work ethic,” Mayer said. “As a captain, I can safely say that our current record is frustrating because it doesn’t accurately reflect the perseverance and grit that the team has shown so far. It’s really easy to lose a mental battle after you get scored on, but our team has done a fantastic job of not only staying positive after goals have been scored against us, but working even harder when faced with adversity. I’m extremely proud of how well we’ve dealt with challenges and am eager to see our future performances.” 

Meanwhile, Guilford’s men’s soccer team began their season with a 2-2 tie against Virginia Wesleyan. 

“Obviously a tie is not what we wanted going into our first game,” said senior Zach Van Kampen. “In terms of what we can improve on, we need to continue to move the ball around and further developing our team chemistry is a must.”

Although Quaker teams have struggled, the players are just happy to have a chance to be able to play given the uncertainty and challenging circumstances we have faced. 

“I try to stay optimistic though and realize that this has been a blessing in disguise,” said Wilson. “…COVID and the coaching turnover (have) allowed me to make a whole new level of connections and networks for once I graduate. I want to get into college football coaching… so it’s honestly been a blessing to… know people who have moved on to coach in higher divisions of football across the country while also making connections with the new coaches who are willing to help me get my foot in the door in college coaching.”