By JOSH FRYE
Escambia County High School planned to add wrestling and soccer to the school’s athletic program this year, but those plans may or may not happen.
“We are currently planning on adding wrestling and soccer teams to our school’s athletic programs this year,” ECHS Athletic Director Scott Mason said. “Those plans are still being pushed forward, but the COVID-19 situation could hinder that.”
According to Mason, the school had actually made the decision to add the two programs this past year.
Plans are currently still being set on offering the two spring season sports, but the coronavirus could put those hopes in jeopardy.
Mason said that with fundraisers currently being conducted for usual school sports such as football, adding the two new sports this year could possibly be affected.
“Money is hard to find right now to support our current sports,” Mason said. “We are struggling to make sure that we are set for football season and that is even up in the air if the virus continues to strike havoc.”
According to Mason, summer workouts for the ECHS football team are still going strong, but the process has not been easy. Currently, no players have tested positive for the virus, but that could change in the blink of an eye.
Plans for the 2020 football season are still in place, but it will also depend on opponents’ schools and the school districts.
“Things are changing every day,” Mason explained. “We want to press forward in adding these two new sports, but we are still unsure if we will be allowed to play any sports at all.”
High school wrestling is a close-contact sport in which one opponent wrestles the other for a pin. Close-contact sports are still in question, even by next spring.
According to Mason, the school is searching for funds to purchase mats, uniforms, equipment and other gear needed for both new sports additions.
“It is tough to add new sports at any time,” Mason said. “When you add in a pandemic such as COVID, things become way harder.”
Mason assured that if the virus will not allow the students the opportunity to participate in the new sports this season, they will be in place for the 2021-2022 school year.