The Patriots have given us much to be excited about this fall!
In August, the Minnesota State High School League decided to push volleyball and football to a spring sports season, which gave those students the opportunity to participate in cross-country or tennis this fall.
Because of this, our teams have seen an increase in the number of those participating in these fall sports, with several athletes taking advantage of the ability to participate in another sport this season and possibly compete as a four-sport athlete this school year.
The added team members have created more competitive teams. I am so impressed with those willing to take on that opportunity.
Girls tennis has 31 Patriots taking the courts, with another 30 in middle level. With such booming numbers, we needed to add another coach to help with our program. As of this writing, the girls are undefeated with a record of 8-0 with two events remaining.
Tennis will be able to compete in sections starting Oct. 5 and concluding Oct. 17.
Cross-country has 43 boys and girls out with an additional 23 middle level athletes participating. They compete each week with a maximum of three teams per event. Boys and girls teams are very competitive and have won most of their meets.
They will finish their regular season in a conference event Oct. 6 and will compete against 23 other teams in Section 7A.
Football and volleyball started on Sept. 14 with what we thought was a three-week fall season practice. New adjustments have changed how their season will proceed. Football started its official practice season Sept. 28 and, like the other fall sports, has a record number of students participating.
They will compete in a six-game season with the first game Oct. 9. Decisions regarding a post-season tournament are still being determined. Games will allow a limited number of spectators but the games will be streamed on the district streaming website when possible so fans can watch.
Volleyball also started its official season Sept, 28. They have their first match Oct. 8 and will have 14 events this fall. Post-season details are yet to be determined. No fans are allowed to attend but we will stream the games on our district streaming website when possible.
Families should keep in mind that if they feel safer transporting their child to and from an event, they should communicate clearly with their coaches and do so. This will help with transportation logistics as we must run buses at 50% capacity and have had to take extra buses for events.
Students cannot drive themselves to events or be transported by anyone else other than their immediate family.
While starting up activities this fall has brought us great joy, it doesn't match the excitement of having students back in our buildings to learn each day. The students bring such energy, excitement and enthusiasm. We must all do our part to make sure our students can attend school in person.
Most students have shared that they need to be in school for them to be successful. They need the structure and the help of our talented educators. It is critical that our students and community follow the guidelines set by the Minnesota Department of Health.
With so many schools in our area having to go to distance learning, we must be extra cautious with the guidelines and do everything we can to ensure we can stay in school. If we are forced to go to distance learning, all sports and activities will stop for the time period we are in that learning mode.
Even worse, we wouldn’t be able to attend school in an in-person format. So please stay safe, stay diligent, let’s do this together and go Patriots!
Byron Westrich is the Pequot Lakes School District activities director.