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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Red Raiders hit the ground running in spring sports

by Garrett Fodor

Returning from March Break, the Essex District High School (EDHS) Red Raider athletes are looking to hit the ground running on the court as they wrap-up their school year.

  As the calendar flips to April, many students are looking ahead to June and their respective summers. But for the athletes of EDHS, it is a treat to return to the rinks, gymnasiums, and fields, before crowds and spectators, while also being able to attend classes without wearing a mask.

  “I’ve noticed in the school that there’s a lot like kids coming out of their shells, so many are excited, especially the athletes given the chance to get back into the gyms to compete against other schools,” Dave Van Wijngaarden said, who is a teacher and coach at EDHS. “Teams haven’t had a lot of time to practice, but just the fact that they’re out there actively participating and competing against other schools makes it nice to try to get back to normal like that.”

Van Wijngaarden noted many of the sports have had to be paused due to the pandemic, including some of the winter sports. So, coming back after Christmas break, they shifted schedules around and began to focus on spring sports. Currently the schedule includes: basketball, volleyball, and hockey. He added they will close out the school year with WECSSAA golf, which is typically played in the fall, along with soccer, track and field, and baseball in the coming weeks.

“For many, they have lost a couple of years to play sports with their friends and compete against other schools, so I am excited for them to have an opportunity to wrap up their high school careers as Red Raiders in the coming weeks and months,” Van Wijngaarden commented. “I’m happy we are able to go back to the gym with spectators in attendance. We are a very proud athletic school and it has been a tough couple years without them.”

  Looking ahead, Van Wijngaarden is excited to hit the ground running and is optimistic for everything to be back on track with the schedule everyone is used to in September, including the proper lead up time, practices, and preparation. 

Following a return to action, the boys’ hockey team won 4-0 over Lajeunesse on March 22, before falling 4-1 to Belle River on March 23.

  Still on the ice, the Girls’ team defeated General Amherst 3-1.

  While on the court, the senior girls’ volleyball team fell 3-0 to Tecumseh Vista on March 22, before bouncing back to win 2-1 over Assumption on March 24.

  In basketball, they defeated Tecumseh Vista 42-36, then beat Leamington 77-29 on March 24.

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