Just days before the end of the Fall 1 sports season, a spike in COVID-19 cases at the high school forced athletics to conclude prematurely.
On November 11, the local board of public health required classes at the high school to go fully remote through December 1 after six positive COVID-19 cases were confirmed. In a note to the community, Wellesley Public Schools superintendent Dr. David Lussier and Wellesley Health Department director Lenny Izzo said that, along with the decision to shift to a fully-remote learning model at the high school, the remainder of the fall sports season would be cancelled.
“It is what it is,” said high school athletic director Mr. John Brown to Milford Daily News. “There is nothing much we can do. Clearly they have to look out for the best interest and health of everybody involved and they made a decision as a school.”
Most fall sports had already concluded their seasons before Lussier and Izzo made the decision to halt athletics.
The boys’ golf team competed in the Bay State Championship match just hours before the announcement, finishing with an undefeated record of 10-0. The field hockey team played their final game against Walpole the same day, ending in a 2-2 tie. The team finished with an overall record of 5-1-2. Despite being able to close out her season fully, field hockey captain Riley Boyle ’21 empathizes with teams who were unable to finish their seasons.
“I know how important the last game [and practice] is, especially for seniors, and my heart goes out to those who didn’t get their official last game,” said Boyle.
The girls’ and boys’ cross country teams were also able to finish out their seasons completely. Both teams finished with a record of 3-1.
“I am very thankful for the season we had,” said boys cross country captain Chris Harding ’21. “Despite COVID-19 restrictions, we still had a great season and were able to finish before in-person school got shut down.”
The girls’ and boys’ soccer teams as well as the girls swimming and diving team, however, were not able to finish their seasons .
Both soccer teams were scheduled to have one more game before the season was cancelled, and the news brought on a mix of emotions.
“When I first found out that the season was cut short, I was with all the seniors on the team and of course we were all pretty devastated, but once the initial shock of it all wore off, we realized how thankful we were to be able to make it as far as we did,” said girls soccer captain Haley Genta ’21.
Because of COVID-19 restrictions put forward by the town, only one spectator per athlete could attend home games. Other towns, including Natick, had looser regulations regarding fan attendance. Boys soccer captain Oliver Berg ’21 looked forward to being able to have more spectators come to the away game, the last of his high school soccer career.
“The honest truth is that it stinks to not have our last game. It really does, especially considering that fans were allowed and it would’ve been a night game. However, it is what it is and you just have to move on. I’m glad we ended the season on a win, a clean sheet, and a game where I got to score,” said Berg.
The girls’ soccer team finished their season with a record of 4-1-3, and the boys’ soccer team concluded with 2-4-2.
In addition, prior to the cancellation of athletics, the girls’ swimming and diving team still had over a week left of practices and a “finale” meet to act as a replacement for not having a conference, sectional, or state meet.
Swimmers looked forward to the final meet, hoping to achieve their best times after two months of practice and a 9-0 record. Expecting over a week more of time together, captain Valerie Passanisi ’21 said the team was devastated when they found out the news of the cancellation of athletics on November 11 after a practice, realizing it was the last time the team would be all together with the seniors.
“I think it was the loss of those last weeks of practice — not getting to spend those weeks with such a uniquely supportive and fun group of people — made the team realize just how much we value and appreciate the family that we are. It feels wrong to finish without a big end-of-season meet, but we are beyond grateful to be healthy and have had a season at all,” said Passanisi.
Whether or not winter sports will take place remains up in the air.
“Our hope is to be back in school on December 1, but we will see what happens,” said Brown to Milford Daily News. “Right now, we don’t even know what is going on with winter sports yet. We aren’t approved yet and we are waiting to see what happens with the state and MIAA [Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association] and obviously get approval from our school committee and superintendent to begin with.”