By Dakota Antelman, Managing Editor
SHREWSBURY – The Shrewsbury Boys tennis team opened its season May 7 with a win over Wachusett on their home courts.
Excited for their first varsity game in nearly two years, the Colonials maneuvered their way to a 3-2 victory over the Mountaineers.
As almost every high school sports program this spring is fighting to pick up where it left off in early 2019, Shrewsbury is doing so from a unique perspective.
The last time their court was used for an MIAA Varsity game was June 19 of 2019. But neither the Shrewsbury Boys nor Shrewsbury Girls Tennis teams were in action. Instead, Algonquin and Brookline faced off on the neutral court for the State Division I championship.
The Colonials’ Boys team had been eliminated from contention just over a week earlier at St. John’s just across town. In that matchup, specifically, the top seeded Algonquin Boys Tennis team handily defeated the Colonials by a score of 4-1.
The Colonials didn’t expect to wait more than 600 days for their next chance at varsity victory. But after a season lost to COVID-19, that’s exactly how long it’s been.
Returning to the court, Shrewsbury is subject to state COVID-19 guidelines for high school sports.
Pre-contest coronavirus screenings are taking place. Through those, anyone with a fever over 100.4 degrees or any other COVID-19 symptom is asked not to participate in games or practices.
Student athletes who miss practices and games due to a positive COVID-19 test must participate in at least one practice before returning for a game.
Huddles and handshakes are not permitted and coaches are expected to keep players separate in designated cohorts during practices.
The MIAA has specific requirements for tennis, including using designated balls on each court and a request that players use items like headbands, wristbands and towels to minimize the need to touch their face, among other things.