After a nearly two-month wait, winter sports are ready to kick off in Borderland.

However, guidelines have been put in place to make sure athletes, coaches and spectators are as safe as possible during the still-ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, including:

  • Athletes, coaches and spectators wearing face coverings at all times
  • Maintaining social-distance while on the sidelines
  • No post-game handshakes

Here are what some athletes from around the area had to say about these new guidelines and getting the chance to play the sports they love.

Bronco girls' basketball 

Looking to improve on an 8-16 record last season, Anna Windels said she and her teammates are excited to get back onto the court.

"We've had such a long break from basketball. I know I'm ready to get back out there and I think my teammates are too," she said. 

On the subject of wearing masks, Chloe Sullivan said it has taken some getting used to, but she thinks the Broncos are rolling with the punches.

"It had been a struggle to play wearing these masks, but we're getting through it," she said. "We've been scrimmaging a lot so I think we're getting used to it."

Bronco boys' basketball

Heading into their first season with new head coach Don Rolando, Bryant Koenig said he understands the need to wear masks during games.

"Playing in a mask is definitely a change, but it's a change we need to adapt to," he said. "Maybe the rules will change down the line, though it's not looking likely."

Regardless of the guidelines, Cullen Rein is excited to be with his teammates again.

"It's great to be back and it's awesome to see the boys again," he said.

Viking girls' basketball 

After both Littlefork-Big Falls basketball teams found success last season, including playoff wins, Destiny Piekarski said its great to be back.

"It feels amazing to get out of the house and to have a purpose at the school instead of sitting around all day," she said.

In regards to the masks, Destiny Zaren said it's possible to play in them if you have the right attitude.

"It does make you tired a lot faster, but it's doable if you set your mind to it," she said. 

Viking boys' basketball 

"It feels great to be back here, especially when it's a year where we didn't know if we'd get to play at all," Blake Chlebecek said.

Jerrell Banner said playing in masks is more of a mental obstacle than anything. 

"If you get into the right attitude mentally, you'll do just fine physically," he said. 

Bronco boys' swimming and diving 

Guidelines for swimming are a bit different than hockey and basketball.

Swimmers do not wear masks while swimming, and meets are generally restricted to two teams at a single pool.

Senior Cody Jantzen said the team were prepared for these guidelines from watching the girls' team compete in the fall.

"It's gonna be tough with COVID, but I think we're going to make it through alright," he said.