Hayfield athletes step up off the court

Published 8:17 pm Wednesday, September 21, 2016

It’s been a big week for Hayfield athletics, but much of the action took place away from the court.

There were two moments this week that showed the caliber of student athletes that walk the hallways of Hayfield High School on a daily basis and both of those moments left a lasting impression on another school.

On Monday night, Hayfield was hosting No. 5 ranked Waterville-Elysian-Morristown, which won the match in five sets. Before the match, Hayfield’s players proved to be a class act when they went out of their way to dance with a WEM student manager, who has Downs’ Syndrome. Later on, the Vikings saw the manager again and they clapped with her and shared a great moment.

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Hayfield senior volleyball player Anna Carney said the team didn’t hesitate when they saw the WEM manager nearby.

“We didn’t even really think about it. It’s just what we do. We try to include everyone and have fun. She was having a blast I think,” Carney said.

At a volleyball match in Rochester Lourdes Tuesday, it was the Hayfield student section that left a big impression. After the match, many of the Hayfield football players who were in the crowd went out of their way to clean up the bleachers.

The Hayfield volleyball team is off to an 8-2 overall start and the Hayfield football team is 2-1 overall, but the Vikings value the wins they picked up off the field this week as well. Hayfield has created an atmosphere that pushes students to excel as people as well as athletes and it has paid off big time.

“We try to be great people both on and off the court. It was a great week for us for doing that,” Carney said. “I’m just really proud to be a Viking right now.”

Hayfield athletic director Chris Pack said it was great to hear that the school’s athletes did the right thing when they didn’t necessarily have to and nobody was telling them they had to.

“It certainly makes us feel good about what we’re doing here. It was totally unprompted and they did it in on their own. For them to do that on their own makes us certainly proud of them,” Pack said. “We all want to win, but things like this are great examples of what can be done with education based athletics. It’s more than just winning and losing. It’s the life long relationships that matter.”

The Hayfield student section has played its part in the positive vibes as well. Besides cleaning up on Tuesday, they’ve always delivered positive cheers during contests to their own team and they don’t get into a back and forth yelling session with opposing players or fans.

“Everyone’s heard of student sections that get a little rowdy,” Pack said. “You don’t want to be that school and I’ve always felt we’ve had good kids. Seeing them go above and beyond like this kind of re-affirms that.”

Wherever Hayfield’s athletes finish this fall season, they’ll be able to hold their heads high for doing the right thing when it wasn’t being asked or forced.

Let’s hope that’s a lesson they carry on for the rest of their lives.