by ALEXANDRA RETTER
Since the Winona Senior High School (WSHS) Theatre Group met virtually due to the pandemic, WSHS senior and Theatre Group member Ava Ringlien missed playing sound effects and keeping tabs on microphones’ volumes during productions. She also missed connecting in person with her good friends from the group. Following the recent return of in-person high school winter sports and activities, Ringlien is happy to be back in the sound booth and among her friends again. “Not having it was really socially draining … Getting back to semi-normal is so nice,” Ringlien said.
Ringlien is not alone. With high school winter sports and activities taking place now at local schools like Winona Senior High School and Cotter Schools, other students also said they are glad to have the opportunity to spend time with their friends in person at practices, games and meetings.
Logan Henningson, a sophomore at WSHS who is on the wrestling team, said it is nice to be around friends on the team who are from another school, as he has not seen them in a long time. “My teammates are just awesome,” he said.
Ashtin Holzer, a member of the girls hockey team who is a senior at La Crescent High School, agreed that she appreciates spending time with friends on the team from other schools. “We all come from different schools … so it’s nice for us to be together,” she said.
Hayden Dais, a senior at WSHS who is also on the girls hockey team, noted that she wants to enjoy “every moment we have with each other, enjoying the practices, the games, making memories out of it.”
Students said they are grateful to just have the chance to attend practices, games and meetings in person during the pandemic, as well.
“I’m super thankful we’re even having a season, because coming into the start of the season, we didn’t think we were going to be doing any practices or tournaments,” Henningson said.
Seniors graduating in only a few months said they are particularly glad they are able to take part in their sport or activity for a final time while they are in high school and to pass on what they have learned to fellow students who are coming up in their programs.
Abigail Fratzke, a member of the girls hockey team who is a senior at WSHS, was not able to play for about half of the season last year, so she is happy to be back on the ice now as she nears graduation. “For my senior year, I want to be on the ice, playing with my teammates and growing my skills,” she said.
Fratzke, Dais and Holzer said they have learned about being role models for younger students as a result of playing hockey, and that responsibility continues during the pandemic. “It’s just important to be a leader for everyone, and someone that they can look up to,” Dais stated. Fratzke, Dais and Holzer hope they inspire younger players to invite their friends to join the team in the future as well.
As Theatre Group members prepare for performances in February that they hope a limited audience will be able to attend, Ringlien is teaching others how to run sound during productions before she graduates this year. “During the show, we’re going to have understudies to me, basically,” she said.
Sports and activities provide a vital break from schoolwork, especially given the challenges of learning during the pandemic, students said. Getting exercise and taking a pause on homework while at practices or games is an enjoyable part of being able to play hockey, Dais said. Holzer concurred, saying, “It’s definitely nice to be able to get out of the house.”
Keep reading the Winona Post for updates on local schools.