Fall 2020 was the first sports season that Arizona and Fountain Hills competed in since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it was very different compared to seasons of years past.
The start date was pushed backed, seasons were shortened and the AIA recommend modifications to each sport to help prevent the spread of COVID.
But even with all of those precautions in place, Fountain Hills High School still experienced a COVID-19 outbreak that cut short most of the fall sports’ already abridged schedule.
What follows is a recap of the 2020 sports seasons. As a reminder, the winter season is not set to begin until late January.
Along with the rest of the 2019-20 school year, spring sports were cancelled in Arizona after cases of COVID-19 began surging.
Baseball, softball, beach volleyball, golf, tennis and track had already begun practicing but, unfortunately, their season was over before it even began.
Spring sports are expected to return this year with modifications from the AIA to help keep the athletes safe.
Going into the unique 2020 season, head coach Jason Henslin knew that the team that put the most effort in would be the most successful.
That method of thinking paid off for the Falcons, who won their first two games of the season against Chino Valley (28-12) and Florence (48-47). Fountain Hills ended up losing its next two games, however, to Safford and Payson.
Then COVID-19 reared its ugly head again and an outbreak at the high school forced the season to be cut short. The Falcons were able to get one final game scheduled against Eastmark but, being weeks out of practice, FHHS lost the game 28-7.
The Fountain Hills High School girls volleyball team persevered through a tough schedule in their 2020 season but, in the end, it was their schedule that earned them a place in the state tournament.
The Lady Falcons’ season began on Sept. 22 with a shutout win against Bourgade Catholic. The Falcons recorded another shutout in their next game against Payson, but then suffered two losses to the top-ranked teams from Valley Christin and Northwest Christian.
This is how most of the season went for Fountain Hills, with the team netting a couple of victories and then suffering a couple of losses. Unfortunately, like other fall sports the volleyball season was cut short by the COVID-19 outbreak at the high school.
But just like football, volleyball was able to play one final game after their strength of schedule propelled them into the top eight teams for Division 3, earning them a spot in the state tournament.
The Lady Falcons’ opening match in tournament play was against Empire, with the Falcons going on to lose in four sets.
The Fountain Hills Cross Country team had a small roster of underclassmen this year, but head coach Nick Goodman believes that this season was the first step in building a strong team of runners.
“The season went great for all the cross country Falcons,” Goodman said in a fall interview. “All of the athletes had significantly improved on their home course times, with the probability of two athletes, Josh Ball and Erin Hooley, qualifying for the state championship.”
Unfortunately, the outbreak of COVID prevented any of Fountain Hills’ runners from participating in an event that could qualify them for the state race.
The Aquatic Falcons had an interesting, albeit short, season that was a mix of in-person and virtual events.
The season began on Sept. 19 with a meet competing against BASIS Phoenix, Scottsdale Prep and Cicero Prep.
After that meet, the Falcons were only able to participate in three more events before the COVID-19 outbreak at the high school prevented them from completing their season.