Winter sports are back at WHS

Jeremy Kornfeld and Aidan Morrison

On Oct. 13, Governor Phil Murphy announced his decision to allow all indoor winter sports to continue as scheduled, much to the excitement of winter athletes and coaches at  WHS. However, this decision will undoubtedly bring many new challenges and requires proper safety precautions to be put in place. 

The return of winter sports has raised a lot of questions about how games and tournaments will be conducted. WHS Athletic Director Sandra Mamary said, “It’s our number one priority that athletes and coaches are safe. So we will listen to whatever the NJSIAA says to ensure that our athletes and coaches are healthy and safe, whether that means spectators or no spectators.”

Everything is pretty up in the air right now, so we have to do our best to make sure the season happens. We will listen to whatever our coaches or the NJSIAA says in order for us to wrestle.”

— Luke Bowen Crupi

In addition to concerns about fans attending sporting events, parents and athletes are concerned about the certainty of the winter season happening at all. Mamary said, “As of now we are not sure if we will get through the season; it’s not our call. We will, however, do everything in our power to make sure that students get the most out of their season.”

Governor Murphy’s decision came as a shock to some, as COVID-19 is still prevalent in Westfield. WHS Wrestling Coach Glen Kurz said, “I still have doubts [about the season]; I won’t believe that we have a season until we’re on the mat.” 

In the event that there is a season, the wrestling team is ready to take precautions to be safe. Kurz said, “We clean our mats thoroughly every day before practice, our kids shower after every practice and match, and they use skin wipes with 70% alcohol.”  

WHS senior and wrestler Luke Bowen Crupi is in agreement with Coach Kurz. “Everything is pretty up in the air right now, so we have to do our best to make sure the season happens. We will listen to whatever our coaches or the NJSIAA says in order for us to wrestle,” said Crupi. 

Other coaches at WHS are looking forward to the opportunity to resume play as well. WHS Girls Varsity Basketball Coach Liz McKeon said, “We know how fortunate we are to have this decision to return to play and will do everything we can to be safe and abide by all rules and protocols.”

Coach McKeon stressed her admiration for her players during this difficult time. “I want to add how proud I am of these ladies. Things have been very different since our season ended in March. They have remained positive and continued to work on their skills in whatever capacity they have been allowed. They are smart and they are strong and I am very excited for the future,” said McKeon. 

Varsity Boys Basketball Coach James Mckeon has set many goals for his team this year. He wants to be “competitive, to leave a mark on every opponent that gets on the court with us and to win.” The basketball team is ready for their chance to step onto the court and Mckeon said, “Watch out for Westfield Basketball… we are here.” 

WHS senior and basketball player Ezra Budashewitz is eager for an opportunity to get back onto the court as well. He said, “I’m excited to come back and show that we can replicate the great season we had last year, it’s my senior season so I am ready to be a leader.” 

There is still a lot of time between now and the NJSIAA-approved start date of Dec. 3. This means that all students and athletes need to follow COVID-19 protocols to ensure a winter sports season can happen. As Mamary recently said in an email to student-athletes, “Please continue to wear your mask, practice social distancing and be careful when eating and drinking around others. We need to flatten the curve by stopping the spread.”