Jefferson Girls Basketball hosts tryouts


TJ Colonial Sports

Photo courtesy of TJ Colonials Sports. “[At tryouts] masks were required at all times, and santization stations were set up so that after a ball was used, someone could clean it,” Anjali Maddipatla, a freshman on the varsity team, said. “We were required to bring our own water bottles so we didn’t have to share.”

Sana Sawhney, Staff Writer

COVID-19 has caused a plethora of missed events at Jefferson, but many of Jefferson’s sports teams have been taking big steps to bring back sports. On December 7, the girls varsity and junior varsity basketball teams held their first day of tryouts on the Jefferson campus. However, additional safety measures were taken to keep both the players and coaches safe.

“Before even entering the building, they take our temperature and we have to fill out a Google Form saying that we have enough water and we’re not experiencing any symptoms,” freshman Anjali Maddipatla said.

However, with a contact sport like basketball, maintaining these safety measures proved to be disrupting on the court.

“[Tryouts] definitely weren’t the most efficient because this year we were asked to be 30 minutes early to every single try out,” junior Erika Ramirez said. “Besides that, basketball is obviously a contact support so I think the balance between what’s safe and actually playing basketball is kind of hard to find sometimes.”

Safety measures, however, are necessary, and help players feel safe on the court.

“The first few days wearing masks was optional during active gameplay, but the VHSL made it mandatory for basketball,” said Ramirez. “Honestly, that decision made me very happy because it just makes me feel safer. We talked about it as a team, and each person promised to take care of themselves for the health of the entire team, so I place a lot of trust in my teammates and I think we can have a safe season.”

However, dealing with COVID-19 hasn’t just affected basketball on the court.

“We only have 20 girls in the program this year compared to 30 or 40 girls normally, so we actually don’t have a freshman team this year,” said Ramirez. “There are one or two girls who haven’t played basketball before, so I’m sure for them it’s been a big adjustment because JV is more competitive than freshman [team] and they’re playing with girls who have been playing for a while.”

For some students and families, the risk factor of trying out is not something they are willing to deal with, and this has impacted not only the freshman team, but also JV and varsity.
“A lot of kids refrain from trying out because of the risk,” Maddipatla said. “The JV team only has eight players, so some players on varsity also have to play on JV, if they need extra people.”

Coaches have played a big role in making sure the girls have an enjoyable but well-prepared and safe season. Both the players and coaches are thankful that the season has finally started, but remain wary about the current situation.

“I think the coaches have been as prepared as they can be and they’ve told us since day one that we have to expect the unexpected,” Ramirez said. “If there’s a case, at any second we can get shut down, so it’s just making the most of the practices we have.”

Coaches even led a few discussions among the team about the situation to strengthen the importance of following important safety measures.

“In team discussions, the coaches were very cautious about everyone wearing masks,” Maddipatla said. “They made sure we knew that when we played, we weren’t only putting our team at risk, we were putting families, coaches, referees, and other teams at risk, so it was important to stay truthful and safe.”

Despite the new adjustments and changes in routine, the girls basketball teams, both JV and varsity, are ready to start a new season.