An Unconventional Start for Fall Sports at Byram

Photography by Samantha Milewicz

Article by Jon Manowitz

As the new school year begins, many of the fall-sport athletes have the chance to finally begin their long awaited season.  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s season will not be the same as usual.  Section One athletics has implemented new safety regulations in order to help ensure the health and wellbeing of their athletes, coaches, officials, and fans.  Some regulations include the wearing of protective masks while on the field, daily temperature checks, and limited fan sections. Even with these measures, some sports such as football, volleyball, and cheerleading were unfortunately cancelled for the fall season.

Reflecting on the sports going ahead this fall, Byram athletic director, Rob Castagana shares, “All of the coaches and I are extremely proud of our varsity and junior varsity athletes.  They are working extremely hard in practice each day and staying focused during this pandemic.  The student-athletes are staying positive, working through challenging circumstances, and lifting each other up.” In terms of the changes to the season, Mr. Castagna comments, “We have a new safety protocol in place and everyone is respecting the guidelines.  They are staying focused on the things that they can control, their attitudes, and their relationships.  They are Byram Strong!” Seeing all the athletes come together and respect the safety of their community has been amazing.

All the fall-sport athletes are very excited to have their season. Senior Captain Anika Kumar, a member of the Girls Varsity Tennis team states, “Tennis this year is going very well! Although it is hard to play in a mask and stay distanced from our teammates, we are all really excited to just be able to have a season.” The positive attitude and work ethic of Anika and her teammates helped lead them to victory in their first match against Harrison.

Senior Tessa Schwartz, a member of the Varsity Field Hockey team, echoes Anika’s comments, sharing that  “although this field hockey season is very different from previous years, [she] feels so grateful that [they] are having a sports season at all.” Tessa continues, noting that “Wearing masks and distancing while practicing are small prices to pay to be able to go out and play as a team. I’m hoping we get to have a full season throughout the fall!” All the fall-sport athletes are hoping for the same, especially our seniors who are experiencing a final Bobcat season like no other.

Finally, Kalden Harp, a captain of the Boys Varsity Soccer team, says “soccer has been going great to say the least,” and reiterates that “it’s a blessing to be back out and playing.” Regarding his team, he shares, “we really took advantage of the offseason, so we are looking great this year and are on track for a great season.” Based on Kalden’s description, it seems that we can expect some impressive performances from our varsity boys soccer team this year! And so far, they have delivered with a 3-0 win over Horace Greeley High School.

Despite the limitations this season holds, the athletes are staying optimistic and making the best of this situation.  Overall, the athletes seem thrilled to finally be able to come together and compete!