Vance student-athletes don’t mind wearing masks to get back to competition

Athletes don't mind wearing mask in competition

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - If wearing a mask means playing sports again, the student-athletes at Vance don’t mind wearing them even during competition. It’s all about the opportunity.

From the outside looking in, all we really think about is will they play or won’t they play. For the student-athletes… it’s deeper than that. Quite simply, not playing could make the chance of going to college much harder.

“It was an opportunity that my junior year could have been gone,” said Vance junior men’s basketball player Daniel Sanford. “This is a key year. I missed most of my recruiting.”

“Some of them didn’t get the scholarships they wanted and some haven’t signed yet,” said Donnell Rhyne who is the women’s basketball coach at Vance. “It is a great opportunity to get the opportunity to get in front of those coaches (college coaches) again to get a scholarship offer.”

The chance to play means much more for the Vance women’s team.

They were suppose to play for the 4A state championship back in March against SE Raleigh, but ultimately, the game was canceled due to the pandemic.

“When coach told us, some left crying,” said Tanajuh Hayes, who is a junior basketball player on the women’s team. “Some couldn’t even finish the day off. We were all just devastated.”

They had to settle for being co-champs but with this mask, they now get the opportunity to defend that title.

“The real joy came from seeing them smiling and knowing they had the opportunity to repeat,” said coach Rhyne.

As far as playing with a mask on…

“Once it gets a little sweaty, it’s hard to breathe,” said Sanford. “I be breathing in my sweat.”

Coaches have to a lot more subbing to keep players fresh and a lot of hand signals. Whatever it takes to have the opportunity to play again.

“We are just happy to have our family back together again,” said Brian Frazier, who is the head coach of the Vance men’s basketball team.

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