BETHEL — Oxford County’s return to a green designation earlier this month was great news for Telstar athletes looking to hit the field this fall. Though the season is already significantly shorter than any other year, Telstar Athletic Director Gail Wight said most athletes are happy just to be playing at all.

“Students understand what they have to do, to do what they want to do,” Wight said of students taking necessary precautions.

Telstar cross country, field hockey and soccer teams have already had games/meets and football is slated to have their first contest this Friday in Dirigo at 7 p.m.

The Maine Principals Association announced  in September that tackle football would be postponed to next year after  it was considered a high risk activity by both state and national guidelines. This forced schools to either explore alternative options or hold off entirely until spring 2021. Telstar decided to go with flag football, so that players could still have some semblance of a season, minus the physical contact.

Wight said football players will be masked on the sidelines, but not when they are on the field playing.

More changes to the athletic season include no postseason or state championship play.

Currently, all schools in the Mountain Valley Conference are playing sports.

Wight said teams have been following all protocols, wearing masks wherever required, and sanitizing as much as possible. Wight is the field hockey coach for Telstar and said her players sanitize their hands each time they remove their mouth guards, one of the CDC’s main concerns regarding field hockey.

Transportation to away games, which has been an issue in the past for Telstar because of a bus driver shortage, has been less of a challenge this year because teams are smaller and are able to travel on one bus.

Parents of senior students will be allowed to be at the final few games of this season as long as they volunteer to help out at the game. Jobs would include chasing down balls that go into the woods, working the gate, among other tasks. Wight said other schools have taken this approach so family can watch their students play.

Two family members will be permitted  to attend/work games for each senior.

Western Hills Access Television will be trying to record every game for parents to watch. The goal is to eventually have WHAT livestream the contests, but WHAT’s Youtube channel needs 1000 subscribers before they can start live streaming games.

Full sports schedule

Telstar (field hockey) @ Dirigo. Thursday, Oct 22. 5:30 p.m.

Dirigo @ Telstar (field hockey). Friday, Oct 23. 3:30 p.m.

Telstar (football) @ Dirigo. Friday, Oct 23. 7 p.m.

Telstar (field hockey) @ Mt. Valley. Saturday, Oct 24. 11 a.m.

Telstar (cross country) @ Maranacook. Saturday, Oct 24.

Oxford Hills @ Telstar (girls soccer). Monday, Oct 26. 3:30 p.m.

Lisbon @ Telstar (field hockey). Monday, Oct 26. 3:30 p.m.

Dirigo @ Telstar (girls soccer). Wednesday, Oct. 28. 3:30 p.m.

Telstar (girls soccer) @ Oak Hill. Saturday, Oct 31. 11:00 a.m.

Oxford Hills @ Telstar (football). Tuesday, Nov. 3 3:30 p.m.

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