Austin trips, spectator policies modified due to Omicron


Aleena Gilani

The student section returns and dons ski goggles and beanies in support of the Mavericks.

Katharine Yao, Staff Writer

For girls’ basketball captain Gracie Malone, the Austin trip and SPC have always been the highlights of the season. This year, she was looking forward to bonding with her teammates and cheering on her friends, but the spread of Omicron forced the administration to make changes to the trip. Since the Austin trip occurs every two years, Malone only experienced the traditional trip once during her sophomore year. 

Girls’ basketball would have traveled to Austin on Jan. 7 and stayed overnight to play the next day, but the trip was shortened to just one day to prevent teammates from spending a night in close proximity in hotel rooms.

“We practiced and played the most over the break; we were there every week, almost every single day,” Malone said. “Even when we weren’t having official practices, people would come in for open gyms.” 

The wrestling team also had an overnight trip to Dallas; however, instead of being canceled, the trip was changed into a day trip.

“We’re okay with it as long as we still get to go up there, wrestle, have some fun and be with our team,” Perez said. 

The girls’ and boys’ swimming trip to Dallas was also canceled.

“It was definitely a downer to not be able to go to that meet,” Cheng said. “Usually, every sports team gets one out-of-town trip where the team gets closer.”

Although swimming replaced their missed competition with the HAPPI meet at the University of Houston pool, Cheng thinks that the experience won’t be the same because she cannot stay overnight with her friends.

In addition to canceling competitions, the administration restricted the amount of spectators that could attend indoor games; only parents could come. Malone, upset with the spectator policy and the cancellation of overnight trips, feels that after the fall season went smoothly, the new policies feel like a regression. 

“Everyone was finally starting to feel like we’re really getting our normal season back,” Malone said. “It felt like we were reverting all the way back to the policies that we had pre-vaccine and pre-treatments.”

Several winter sports captains submitted a petition to the administration about the overnight trips and the new spectator policy, which would have restricted athletes’ friends from coming to Senior Nights, such as boys’ basketball’s on Jan. 31. On Jan. 17, an updated spectator policy for indoor sports was sent in the weekly Upper School infographic. According to the updated policy, spectators will now be able to attend indoor games if they wear a mask.

“Just as much as we want people to be able to come to our games, we want people to be able to go to boys’ basketball games or the wrestling meets,” Malone said. “The fact that this is the last season for seniors really called people to action.”