Park City High athletics feeling the effects of omicron variant |

Park City High athletics feeling the effects of omicron variant

Rising case numbers force changes to high school sports

The feelings of deja vu in Park City High School athletics have started to grow in recent days, as rising COVID-19 case numbers at the school and in Summit County are forcing changes and affecting competition.

Summit County’s indoor mask mandate went into effect on Friday, and that includes sporting events. However, PCHS athletic director Jamie Sheetz said that there haven’t been any internal discussions about limiting capacity at games. It has been a crazy time for Sheetz to help keep the Miners’ seasons going across the school’s different sports.

“Challenging, for sure,” Sheetz said. “Just trying to continue to create the best possible environment for the kids to do these activities during the pandemic, really. That’s the main focus — allowing them to continue to do it.”

An outbreak on the Park City boys basketball team forced another postponement, as the Miners were set to face Brighton on Tuesday. The team will not be participating in activities until at least Thursday. Sheetz pointed out that rescheduling games is not an easy process.

“It’s always difficult to reschedule games because there’s only a limited amount of time that coaches have to schedule games, and they try to space them out appropriately given the amount of time,” he said. “So when that schedule is messed up, now you’re having to pack more games into a tighter space, yeah, it creates a lot of problems, especially when another team is trying to do the same thing.”

Park City basketball coach Thomas Purcell said that coaches will likely ask for the season to be extended by a week like they did last year but noted that it likely won’t happen, just like last year.

“I’m sure they’ll say no, and so it will end up that we will be playing three games a week at least two weeks,” Purcell said. “And we’re not the only team in the state going through this, other teams might cancel on us. This could turn into last year pretty quick.”

The Miners’ next game is scheduled for next Tuesday when they host Highland. But the reality of the Miners’ situation is that, nearly two years in, the coronavirus pandemic is still an issue in high school athletics.

“I can’t believe how much COVID is out there,” Purcell said. “Anyone who wants to take a look at the basketball team as to how contagious this thing is, it’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen. It’s unlike flu, it’s unlike anything.”

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