Just as the winter sports season was scheduled to start, it was just as quickly taken away from Pennsylvania schools.
The Salisbury wrestling team was just days before opening its season back on December 12, but the Colonial League decided to halt the start of winter sports and push back the season until after Christmas. League competition was halted until January 11.
A few days later Gov. Tom Wolf halted competition as well, meaning that no nonleague meets or games could be played either.
“About two or three days before we were about to have our first dual meet, the Colonial League voted to push it back,” Salisbury head coach Eric Snyder said. “It wasn’t that much of a big deal because we had a quad meet scheduled, so we figured we would get some wrestling in. But then Gov. Wolf shut us down.”
The rise in Covid-19 cases in the state forced the shutdown of over a month. Snyder and the Falcons were then forced to halt all practice and competition until further notice.
Practices were officially allowed to resume on Monday. But after weeks of preparation already-which included three weeks of practice-Snyder and the Falcons are left trying to get back to that pre-shutdown level again.
“We started practicing the first day,” Snyder said. “We had like 18 or 19 practices in. We had a lot of practice time in. With the exception of the Thanksgiving holiday-that Thursday-we practiced every day we could. We were ready to go.”
With the restart underway this week, the Falcons will practice for much of the week in preparation for it’s first meet. But the following week will be alternating days of practice and matches with a compacted schedule over the first month of the season.
“From January 11 until February 2 we are going to wrestle like 11 dual meets,” Snyder said. “We’re going to be pretty busy. There’s not going to be a lot of practice time. The kids were bummed obviously when we got shut down.
“You just have to take everything day by- day. I’m sure this is not going to be the first time something like this happens. Whether it be a match gets postponed, somebody tests positive, or a school shuts down.”
With scrimmages not allowed, and Salisbury not able to travel to other schools to practice with teams, this preseason has been a bit more difficult. But Snyder has adapted and changed some of Salisbury’s normal practice and workout routines from prior seasons.
“We’ve incorporated a lot more lifting and running than we normally did in previous years” Snyder said. “Even with Covid over the summer and not being able to do some stuff…you can tell that they were still out there doing stuff trying to make themselves better.
“It’s difficult because we have so few kids and we are wrestling with the same guys every day. We try to change up practices as much as we can. It’s hard because we can’t go anywhere and practice [with other schools] this year because of Covid. And you can’t scrimmage and do all that stuff.”
The Falcons have also had very limited time together as a team due to the pandemic. But with less than a week until their opener, Salisbury is focused on adjusting to these unprecedented times in the best was possible.
“We started getting together as a team like in October,” Snyder said. “We really haven’t had a lot of time together since this whole thing started. We just haven’t been able to do a lot of the same stuff at the beginning of the year like in practice, which was really nice and we could kind of keep it rolling at the end of the year.”