Athletics make their comeback


Hannah Huynh ‘21

Basketball players Martyna Malolpszy, Sam Fung, Katelyn Hsu and Hayes Sullivan, all seniors, conquer the amphitheater stairs.

Though classes at FSH remain on Zoom, athletics have, at least partly, come back to campus. The volleyball, basketball, water polo and cross country teams have begun optional outdoor conditioning exercises, even as the pandemic continues. 

During these conditioning sessions, students must wear a face mask at all times and must physically distance themselves. In addition, they must have taken a screening test before coming to campus. While most teams are limited to skill building and conditioning, the volleyball and basketball teams are permitted to practice using balls. Each athlete picks one partner per week to perform drills with, using one ball per session in order to limit cross contamination. 

“Girls who are doing their screening do it on an app called Magnus,” Nurse Kathy Larson said. “They come, they show Iggy their ‘go’ sign. They then go. They cannot show up early. If they do, they have to sit in their car. They then get out; they are all spaced. They cannot go inside the building. They also must come wearing their face covering. If girls start to exert, they have to spread to eight feet and proceed with whatever conditioning they’re doing.” 

While Nurse Kathy had concerns about allowing Tologs to return to the Hill for outdoor conditioning, after weighing the pros and cons, she came to support the idea. 

“Especially at your age,” Nurse Kathy said, “You need to be in contact with other people. And even if you can’t touch them or hug, getting outside and conditioning together all of a sudden became a positive for me.” 

Now that FSH has at least some form of athletics up and running, the Veritas Shield has reached out to interview one member of each team that’s practicing — cross country, volleyball, water polo and basketball — to find out how conditioning sessions are going from the student perspective.


Bridget Byrne ‘21 – Cross Country

Bridget Byrne runs with both the JV team and the varsity team. 

What was your first initial reaction to cross country practices resuming on the Hill? 

I was honestly surprised that they were letting us go back, but once I went to our first practice, I realized they had it really under control. 

What do your cross country practices look like?

Before every practice, we’re required to fill out a Covid-19 information survey, and the coaches check our temperatures. We have to stay six feet apart from each other, and if we’re within ten feet of each other, we have to wear a mask — meaning we wear a mask all of practice. 

Have you noticed any difficulties with practice? 

Running in a mask was super difficult at first, mainly because I was super out of shape, so I could barely keep up anyway. But once we started practicing more, I noticed that it got a lot easier to breathe, and I think most of us have just gotten used to it. 

How does it feel for cross country to be back?

Overall, I’m super happy to have cross country, regardless of the strict rules and precautions we do have to take when we practice, because it makes me feel normal again. I find that a lot of people are struggling with their mental health during all of this, and I found myself slipping into that as well. But once we went back to cross country, I realized that I started to feel like I was a part of something again, which was super refreshing. 


Elle Gilhooly ’24 – Volleyball

Elle Gilhooly has been playing volleyball for five  years and enjoys playing as a defensive specialist and an outside hitter. 

How has volleyball impacted your freshman experience so far?

Sports are a huge part of my life, and it’s weird not being able to play them normally. Since we cannot be in person on the Hill, there weren’t many opportunities to meet my freshman class in person. When volleyball conditioning started, it was an amazing opportunity to meet some of my classmates safely. 

How has volleyball been doing with practices during the coronavirus? 

Sports during this unprecedented time look very different for all athletes. Flintridge Sacred Heart is doing a great job inviting athletes to participate in athletics during Covid-19. Coach Trent ensures everyone’s safety by making sure we are all spaced out, outside, with masks on. I think all players feel safe at conditioning. I’m so appreciative to get back to playing the sport I love! 


Maggie Fuller ’22 – Water Polo 

Maggie Fuller makes the calls for the plays during games. 

How does it work keeping a distance from your teammates while you’re in a pool?

We basically have been swimming in our own lanes as well as doing drills on different sides of the pool.  

Does having to stay physically apart from your teammates make it hard to feel connected to them? Or have you adjusted?

Right now, we are only swimming for our conditioning, so we don’t do anything team related, because we can’t yet. But swimming so far apart feels really weird because we used to be so crowded. Right now it really doesn’t feel like a team, but I think when we start actually practicing with real drills, it’ll feel more like a team. 

What’s your team best at practicing? What does your team need to work on?

I think right now we all need to work with what we can do given the circumstances with swimming. We all just need to build our speed and strength so we can do well during the season. 


Hayes Sullivan ’21 – Basketball

Hayes Sullivan’s killer three-pointer is a strength of her game.

What skills have you been able to practice? What skills are fading?

Since we can’t go to the actual gym, we haven’t been able to practice shooting on real hoops, which definitely means the team’s shooting skills are a little rusty. But being outside has allowed us to get in really good shape by running stairs and sprints. We also have really been focusing on dribbling skills, which are crucial in basketball, so that’s definitely a plus because we get better each day. 

How’s the team spirit holding up?

Over the summer, the team’s spirit was definitely fading, just because we didn’t have any plan for the season. Even though there are still a lot of things in gray areas as for when things will go back to normal, just being able to be around each other a few times a week has helped our spirits and brought back some hope. 

When games come back — whenever that might be — what are you most looking forward to?

As soon as the games come back, I’m just looking forward to the excitement and thrill. I’m really excited to put our skills to work just to remind us that all of the training has been worth it.