A Double Header: An Update on Trojan Sports

Trojan Sports: What’s Happening at the Administrative Level

It is safe to say that 2020 is not the year we all hoped for. The same case can be said of the Northwest Athletic Conference’s (NWAC) return in the 2020-21 season.

On August 14th, NWAC released its return to play phases and protocols. There was a hope that some fall sports, such as cross country and golf, could return in the fall. Golf teams have been given the green light to return, but cross country teams will have to wait. Unfortunately, EvCC doesn’t have a golf team. 

After many meetings and much planning, NWAC and its institutions came up with five different phases; Grey, Red, Yellow, Green and Blue.

The Grey Phase is the re-entry phase. During this period student-athletes will quarantine for 14 days in the residence they will be living in while participating. 

The Red Phase is where teams begin limited group practices. How limited group sessions are, depend on local county guidelines. Starting the Red Phase means that student-athletes and athletic staff have completed the Covid-19 Addendum and the recommended quarantine.

During the Red Phase, vulnerable individuals should shelter in place and continue their individual training while others can start the small group training. Gatherings of no more than 10 athletes and staff are allowed. Gyms and common areas where athletes and staff congregate and interact should remain closed unless social distancing and sanitation protocols are implemented.

The Yellow Phase is when modified team practices begin. Just like the Red Phase, vulnerable individuals should continue to shelter in place and work individually. However, they can perform with a coach on an individual basis. Teams should avoid gatherings of more than 50 unless the proper precautionary measures are taken. Full team practices can be held with social distancing.

The Green Phase is when full team practices and games begin. Vulnerable student-athletes can resume in-person interactions but should continue to practice physical distancing. Gyms and common areas where athletes and staff are likely to assemble and interact can reopen as long as appropriate protocols are implemented. Schools should also consider spectator modifications to ensure the safety of student-athletes, support staff and spectators. 

The Blue Phase is the final stage. This phase is dependent on the successful development of widely available treatment, including prophylactic immunotherapy coupled with widespread and effective vaccination. During the Blue Phase, teams return to normal practice and schools can hold events with a reduced number of spectators.

Ideally, all phases will last two weeks each and in total the phases will take eight weeks. 

While NWAC allows reduced fan attendance in the Blue Phase, EvCC Athletic Director Garet Studer said, “As of now we’ll be spectator-less.” Northwest Athletic Conference Executive Director Marco Azurdia said if one of its institutions didn’t want to hold fans in attendance, it would be fine even in the Blue Phase. “We are going to support that and not raise any stink about that. We totally get it.”

Currently, student-athletes are nearing the end of the Grey Phase and will soon begin the Red Phase. Studer said, “once we get through those two weeks (talking about the grey phase), we are able to start small group training on October 12th.”

Since there are no actual sporting events for this Fall, this current period of time is being used as a trial run. Studer projects all phases to be completed by winter break. When student-athletes return they will restart the five phases. Upon return they will restart the five phases, beginning with the Grey Phase.

With phases for return and safety protocols in place, Studer hopes games will begin in February.

When asked about the unknowns and whether there was a possibility of the season getting canceled, Azurdia said, “…our board has continued to have discussions about ‘if things get worse, we got to be ready to make a decision and make it timely.”

He continued by saying “we continue to have the discussions about ‘do we need to take a look at the whole picture?’” 

While sports seasons look like they could go ahead in a few months, there is still a possibility that sports could be canceled for the 2020-21 season.

Trojan Sports: What the Players Think

After a seven month hiatus, Trojan sports are finally back and working on their craft.

It’s been a long road for the return of athletics. Over the last two weeks, Trojan athletes have ramped up their return to play with the second phase known as, the Red Phase.

The Red Phase was the first time that our athletes could train together, since lockdown. The hope now is that all of the adversity they have faced and all of the hard work they are about to put in before winter break will culminate in beginning competition in February.

Ana Sulantay (#15) battling with her teammates last season. (The Clipper)

First-year volleyball coach, Whitney Williams said, “I think it’s really smart the way they are doing it. A trial run, to kind of figure it out.”

Volleyball player Ana Sulantay said that she is most looking forward to “getting back into shape as well as being able to play alongside my friends.”

Her teammate Stasia Kaahanui, who came from Hawaii to play with the Trojans this season, said that finding out there was a possibility of canceling the season hit her hard and even said that she kind of gave up on that possibility. 

Kaahanui eventually concluded that this pandemic was just a small setback. She said it was the perfect time to work on herself mentally and physically to prepare herself for what could come next.

Men’s soccer player Jacob Woodward said, “I am just thankful we could find a way to make it work and play again.” He continued by saying that the first phase was challenging because of needing to get used to the safety protocols. He said that moving forward it should get easier.

Woodward said, “Individually we all had to hold ourselves accountable to put the hard work in so we would be in shape when the first phase of pre-season came around.”

Men’s soccer will be under new management this year after Head Coach Erik Cruz stepped down in early October. This year’s head coach will be very familiar with the program. Last year’s assistant coach, Winfred Smith, will be co-head coaching with the head coach of the women’s soccer team, Rafael Marins. 

Jacob Woodward said that he is looking forward to getting the group back together and making a run at the NWAC title, but stated, “the goal for the season is to stay safe and ultimately have a season.”

Jacob Woodward playing for Everett Trojans last season. (The Clipper)