Club sports create tradeoffs

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Hill field hockey players compete with their club team over H-Term. Photo courtesy of Kennedy Cliggett ’21.

Many student-athletes at The Hill School feel this year’s COVID-19 protocols meant they had to choose to drop their gear or pick up their books. The school requires that students who participate in club sports attend school virtually. In-person students can play their sport at school, but club programs can better their chances of making it to college and keeping them active when they are not in season.  

Maggie Kondrath ’23, a day student and field hockey athlete at the Hill, explained the struggle of choosing between the two. “It is unfortunate because both are hard choices. Would you rather be learning through a computer or miss opportunities because of your sport? If I want to make a USA field hockey team, I need to play club.” 

According to the school website, Hill is a sports-driven school with 32 varsity sports programs and many other recreational physical activities. “Personally, I found it weird that a school with elite athletes made us make such a tough decision. These sports get some of us into great colleges,” Kondrath stated.

Many students feel that it was hard to learn virtually. “Sitting at a computer screen all day can actually be tiring. I did not want to be online in the fall, but I knew I had to for club lacrosse,” said Annabella Schaffer ‘23. “Spring did not affect me too much since we don’t have a spring season for my club. We only had one in the fall.” 

When talking about club sports, many think of day students, but it is something many boarding students are passionate about as well. Hunter Sloan ‘23, a wrestler from Doylestown, Pa., described his club sports and boarding experiences. “Before Hill, I went to a day school, so I was able to participate in multiple club teams at a time. Although I cannot train outside of Hill at the moment, there are sacrifices you have to make. Some have it easier going to public school, but regardless I am grateful. In May, the national prep tournament is still on, so that is something to look forward to.” 

During the off-campus H-Term leading up to the spring season, students got to freely interact with things they enjoyed, including club sports. Gavin Mpiana ’23, a boarding student from Cape Town, South Africa, participated in club soccer. “In the fall, once I finally arrived [to campus], we did not have much of a season left. I was upset and disappointed since I enjoy soccer. I’m happy we had H-Term, so I was able to participate in some sort of season. It helped boost my confidence in the sport. I also feel for my older teammates as this is some of their last seasons. I am hoping next year is COVID free!”