In this most unusual year amid a worldwide pandemic, Norfolk Academy's “fall" athletics season concluded just as Spring Break began.
The schedule was adjusted because Norfolk Academy competes in the TCIS conference, which agreed early in the school year to offer all three athletics seasons - fall, winter, and spring - in shortened forms. Winter sports came first from November into January, fall sports ran from January into March, and spring sports will go from late March into early May.
Student-athletes and teacher-coaches alike wore masks during practices and interscholastic competition throughout the season, which began in the middle of winter, while snow fell.
Even amid all these adjustments from the norm, Bulldog student-athletics thrived. Director of Athletics Chad Byler noted during a chapel on March 5, the final day of the season, that NA teams won more than 80 percent of their games.
"This entire year has been very challenging for many of us, especially our seniors," Mr. Byler said. “From wearing masks all the time, to not having their team locker rooms, to the reduced game schedule, it is not what they dreamed about as their fall senior year. But like a true Bulldog, everyone persevered and accomplished tremendous feats."
Among Coach Byler's highlights: Watching teams practice in a snowstorm in February; Coach Mary Werkheiser's emotional senior day speech to her field hockey squad; Varsity football's domination of a team with a star running back; Cheerleaders showing their perseverance by cheering in the rain at Catholic; Cross country runners excelling while honoring Coach Ken Lampert, who sadly passed away in 2020; tennis athletes training in the pavilion with all 23 members going through Coach Duquette's workouts; the volleyball team beating Nansemond-Suffolk Academy for the first time in the regular season since 2012; and the soccer team playing its first game in Wynne-Darden Stadium and dominating NSA.
“This truly was a special season," Coach Byler said.
Congratulations to all fall student-athletes and teacher-coaches!
Teacher-coach Woody Poole captured photos of many of the games and practices during the fall. Here are some for your enjoyment: