SKOWHEGAN – After weeks and months of uncertainty the high school sports at a low or moderate risk of spreading COVID-19 kicked off their seasons on Monday. As one of the moderate risk sports, field hockey will have a chance to play this semester but won’t have the chance for any playoff games.
The first team meeting of the season is normally a mundane task. This year, the Skowhegan field hockey team sitting together, socially distanced, is a sight that was in question for weeks.
“We’ve always been optimistic this day was going to happen, we’ve just been planning for it and getting ready for it all along because we had to hope it would happen,” said senior midfielder Hannah McKenney.
Monday marked the first day of practice for the moderate and low risk sports approved by the Maine Principals’ Association, including field hockey, after multiple discussions between the MPA and the state that left players feeling uncertain about their seasons.
“We definitely always had hope and pushed and showed the younger kids that you need to keep that hope, even if that’s not how you feel on the inside, you have to show that on the outside to everyone else,” said senior sweeper Mariah Whittemore.
Skowhegan held its first scrimmage Monday; ten months since the team’s last game, and just weeks after their first group workouts of the summer. Head coach Paula Doughty said its taken this long just to shake the team out of months without training.
“They had no affect, it was the weirdest thing, I’d talk to them and it was nothing there, but listen to them, they’re happy, they’re laughing, it’s great to be back.”
The last time Skowhegan took the field the team won the program’s 16th state championship in the past 19 years, in November 2019. This year’s team will not have the chance to defend the title, as soccer and field hockey will only play a regional schedule with no playoffs.
“Because we came out of last season state champions and undefeated, I think we have that to live up to and we still have to play up to that level,” said McKenney.
Without the opportunity to add another title to the list, the legacy of this year’s senior class will be the impact they leave on the underclassmen.
“We have seniority so we’re showing them what we’ve been through throughout the years and just giving them that drive to push just as hard even if you’re not going to get a state championship,” said Whittemore.