Covid-19 Couldn’t ‘Break the Quake’

Friends teams gave their all to a strange pandemic fall season


Photo by Quaker Nation

Senior Girls’ Varsity Soccer players post-win in October 2020

Distance learning has presented a variety of challenges, including for sports. The Friends School Athletics Department overcame many difficulties to save the fall sports seasons for student athletes, and students say they have been enjoying the chance to play sports for school this year.

Freshman Keller Handwerk, a cross-country star, said he appreciates being on campus, seeing friends, and staying active. But there are still drawbacks. Wearing masks during intense physical activity isn’t pleasant, he says, though necessary. Also, there’s the disappointment of not being able to compete as usual.

“It is not great compared to a normal year,” Keller says, “just because we can’t have competitions.”

Macy Goldberg, a fellow freshman who plays Girls Soccer, also says she appreciates the opportunity.

“It’s going pretty well, in terms of people knowing what they’re doing,” she says, praising the school’s clear daily communications.

Distancing tricky

Macy mentioned that there are some issues with players staying distant from one another, because “competitiveness can mess up the distancing, like people going for the ball at the same time.”

Boys soccer coach Jordan Wright says that, while it’s not an ideal situation for anyone, given the circumstances, he’s “been relatively pleased with how the sports have gone, [and] with how players have responded.”

Fitting around 230 kids on campus during this pandemic is not easy, but the Athletics Department has managed to do it, putting in place a system designed to protect players, coaches, and athletic administrators. Underneath the Middle School gondola, Associate Athletic Director Anne McGinty or Assistant Athletic Director Ken Zalis take temperatures, check Safety App receipts, and dole out wristbands to confirm students went through the right process.

A season to be proud of

“I feel proud that we’re able to get kids on campus, doing something, seeing each other,” says Athletics Director Kara Carlin.

Ms. Carlin discussed the future of pandemic sports, which could possibly include more in-person practices, scrimmages, and a miniature league between Roland Park Country School, Bryn Mawr, and Friends for girls’ sports.

In late October and early November, each sport got to play a game against nearby schools. Some sports just featured upperclassmen, some had the whole team, and some had a combination of both.

On October 30th, Girls Soccer played against Concordia Prep, and won, 3-2. The next day, on Halloween, Boys Varsity Soccer tied St. Paul’s 2-2. That same day, Boys Volleyball defeated Gilman 2-1.

On November 6th, Girls Varsity Volleyball beat Concordia Prep 3-2, and Field Hockey shut out Catholic 5-0. Girls Tennis was set to have a match against Glenelg the next day, but it was canceled. Instead, they got to play the Faculty All-Stars and had a resounding victory.

The last event was Varsity Cross Country, which had a meet on November 12th vs. Mercy, St. Paul’s, and St. Johns on the Friends campus.

Quaker Nation really had an impressive showing, remaining undefeated through the Fall season. For seniors, it was a bittersweet final Fall game, but they gave it their all.

It definitely was not an ideal fall season, but the Quakes know how to stay resilient!