▶️ While fall sports ramp up, COVID keeps Jefferson Co. volleyball on sidelines

By STEELE HAUGEN
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS

If she’s lucky, Culver High junior Lindsey Lamb will get to play just a handful of volleyball games this year.

“I think me and just like the other people here and other players on the team are angry and frustrated with it,” Lamb said of the current situation for athletes at her school. 

High school sports are ramping up across Central Oregon with athletes in traditional fall sports ready to get into the game.

But a mishmash of COVID restrictions tied to a county’s virus transmission level led to some inequities across different sports.

Cross country, soccer, football and volleyball are currently allowed for Deschutes and Crook counties, which this week both moved to the ‘high risk’ level. 

Jefferson County remains at ‘extreme risk’, but Madras and Culver High schools can still play full-contact, full-gear football games.

Volleyball players are still stuck on the sidelines, though, because the sport isn’t allowed in ‘extreme risk’ counties.

“It’s really disappointing that other sports can play but not volleyball,” Lamb said.

If Jefferson County doesn’t move to ‘high risk’ on March 9, there will be no volleyball season.

Lamb’s boyfriend plays football for Culver High.

They have five games scheduled this year.

“I couldn’t really put it together because football is even more of a contact sport,” Lamb added.

Madras High School Athletic Director Mark Stewart says his volleyball players are also disheartened.

“The belief is with indoor sports you can contract COVID more easily and with outdoor sports you can’t,” Stewart said.

Madras and Culver students are back to in-person learning, full-time.

“It’s really hard to explain to the girls and the community how we can be fully in school and all other sports are able to play, but volleyball can’t,” Stewart added.

Students even take part in indoor gym classes.

“We have 23 kids in a PE class right now, but we can’t play volleyball,” Stewart said. “Things just don’t match up with school metrics and county metrics.”

Madras High senior Hannah Holliday was looking forward to this volleyball season.

“I was planning on playing my senior season,” Holliday said, “One last season, but things just didn’t go our way.”

Holliday didn’t want to wait for a season that might never come, so she’s switching to soccer.

“Just ’cause they are able to compete and I really want to compete my senior season,” she said. “I thought if I can’t compete in volleyball, I will go play on another team and compete in soccer.”

March 1 is the competition start date for Oregon high schools.

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