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Golden Bears happy to return

NEW MANCHESTER — The Oak Glen winter sports teams are finally busy getting ready for a long-delayed season and the feeling around the school is easy to pick up on.

It’s better late than never.

“We are excited,” Oak Glen senior wrestler Kyler O’Connor said. “We are getting ready and want to get at it.”

“Now that we are back, I think we are extra excited, and we have been working extra hard since it was kind of taken away from us,” girls basketball player Reece Enochs said. “We are back on the court and working hard together, doing a lot of conditioning and getting in shape for the season.”

West Virginia delayed the start of winter sports in November, pushing the start of the season to January due to the coronavirus pandemic raging across the country. When January came, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice extended the pause into March.

Teams in West Virginia still will have to cross their fingers, as individual team pauses are a reality, as most of the teams across the river in Ohio have experienced during their seasons.

“I don’t even think about it,” O’Connor said about the possibility of pausing.

“Since we can’t control it, there is no reason to think about it,” Enochs said. “We just come out here and work hard. We are excited we can play and hoping that we can get all of our games in.”

That feeling of joy and preparation for the season is evident in the athletes at Oak Glen and also is apparent when learning about their work ethic. Staying in shape has been a challenge during the pause, but the Bears have tackled it as best as they could have.

“I have been grinding and lifting and just this week. I started coming (to Oak Glen), but I have been lifting the whole time,” O’Connor said. “I like waking up and getting my day started, so I am always motivated.”

“All of us outside of high school sports are pretty active and pretty motivated, so we like to keep ourselves in shape,” Enochs said. “We knew basketball would come at some point, so we tried to stay in shape best we could.”

Even though the season practically is around the corner for the Golden Bear athletes, they admit it has been hard watching their Ohio counterparts compete through the winter months.

“I think its annoying because I wish I would have been wrestling the whole time,” O’Connor said.

“It is kind of upsetting that we haven’t been able to play some of our rivals like Beaver Local and East Liverpool,” Enochs said. “In the past, we haven’t been able to beat Beaver Local, so we really wanted one last shot at it for us seniors.”

But, no matter what, come March, these winter sport athletes will have a season. That is good enough for them.

“Anything can be taken away at any time during this, so every game we have to do our best,” Enochs said. “All of us know that so that is why we have been working extra hard at practice, and we are just excited for the games to come. We are just happy we are going to get a season.”

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