When the COVID-19 outbreak hit last March, it caused all sports across the country to hit the stop button. The Brunswick community was no exception.
The only sports which survived this shutdown were indoor track and field, swimming, and wrestling. All other sports, and related championships, were first postponed, then canceled outright.
For the first time in Brunswick history, there were no sports throughout the spring and most of the summer. Baseball, a staple in Brunswick’s history, was not played until late summer and into the fall.
Things in the Brunswick sports community are starting up again, but with a great deal of caution. Many safety precautions are in place, including the wearing of masks where physical distancing is not possible.
Sports at Brunswick High School, under protocols set by Frederick County Public Schools and the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association, will resume practices beginning on December 7. It’s hoped actual competition starts in January.
Lee Zumbach, longtime cross country, and tennis coach at Brunswick High School, said the response has been positive. Workouts and conditioning sessions were held in late summer. Some parents chose not to allow their children to participate out of an abundance of caution, Zumbach said, adding that was understandable.
For those athletes who participated in these workouts, the experience was a positive one.
“It worked out well,” Zumbach said. “We had a four-week session in the fall, then we stopped. We had about 30 athletes come out for cross country.”
For cross country, arrangements were made for BHS athletes to have six small, dual meets on Sundays, supervised by the Mid-Maryland Running Club. “But these were non-scored meets. It just gave the runners a chance to compete once again after such a long layoff. It was just awesome having everyone back.”
The goal, Zumbach said, was not to just jump right back into competition with no prior pre-season training. “It ended up being a good outcome.”
When the winter season resumes, indoor track will be run outdoors, weather permitting. Five meets are planned outdoors, mainly against in-county schools, which may put the Railroaders at somewhat of a disadvantage, said Zumbach.
Brunswick would compete against some of the larger schools in the county, such as Thomas Johnson, Frederick, Tuscarora, Linganore, Oakdale, and Urbana. There will be no multi-team meets.
“It would be dual meets only,” Zumbach said, also noting there will be no meets on the regional or state level. The intent is to gradually work toward getting back into a full season.
“It’s been rough on the kids. Not being able to do anything for several months was very frustrating on all of us.”
COVID-19 cases across the state have begun to spike again. Whether or not high schools across the state will be able to continue to move forward into the winter season remains to be seen.
Zumbach admits there could be another shutdown, but like everyone else, he remains hopeful.
James R. Castle, Author
Bill Cauley
Staff Writer Bill Cauley