Cotter fall sports: safety led to success


Fall sports for high schools in Minnesota in 2020 were a rollercoaster for most schools, but Cotter did a very good job of adhering to Covid protocols, and came through the season as one of a few schools in the area that avoided a major outbreak.

All five of Cotter sports teams successfully participated in almost full seasons this fall. Football, volleyball, soccer, cross country, and swimming all got to compete in multiple contests this fall.

When compared to similar schools in the Three Rivers Conference, Cotter may have handled Covid-19 better than any other school.

Schools like La Crescent, Dover-Eyota, Saint Charles, Fillmore-Central, Lewiston, Rushford-Peterson, and Wabasha-Kellogg all suffered from major outbreaks that limited or canceled their fall sports seasons.

These shutdowns led to great disappointment for many seniors across Southeastern Minnesota. La Crescent and Wabasha didn’t even get to have a season for volleyball or football because of major outbreaks. In contrast to these schools, when you look at Cotter, you see a completely different story.

Cotter sports only had one small case of Covid-19 all fall for high school, that resulted in a forfeit of three volleyball games.

Other than that, every other fall sport team was able to get in as full of a season as the State allowed.

Cotter girls soccer and cross country both won section championships, for soccer it was their first title ever, and Cotter volleyball was in 2nd place in the Three Rivers, and on pace for a conference championship run, when the season was halted.

Cotter football won their first game in three years and almost pulled out a second one in their last game, as they lost in heartbreaking fashion by 1.

Speaking with many in the  Cotter community, the consensus seems to be that the best was made of a tough situation.

When you look at what Cotter did differently than most schools in the area, it is one simple thing, they followed the regulations given to them by the state and school.

These included proper social distancing at games and contests as well as wearing masks at all times. Outside of school, student-athletes didn’t gather in groups larger than 10, or travel to the covid-hotspot of La Crosse, Wisc.

“Haun did a great job of holding our guys accountable when it came to Covid, he challenged us to hold each other to the highest standard throughout the season. As a senior and leader on this team, I took it upon myself to keep my teammates in check as well,” said Ian Modjeski, a senior football player.

There were some bumps in the road for the football team as some parents were exposed to the virus, but the athletes showed maturity and stayed home until test results came back.

The Cotter girls soccer soccer team was exposed to a few cases during the Dover-Eyota section championship, and even after the season was over, the whole team respectfully distanced themselves for two weeks.

“We didn’t stay at home for ourselves or our friends. We stayed home because we wanted to keep others safe and wanted to give our peers the chance to have a full season like we did, ” Maren Stewart, a senior captain, said.

These mature decisions limited any spread throughout the Cotter teams and families throughout all fall.

Now that Cotter sports have been shut down until at least January due to skyrocketing cases in Winona County, it is reassuring to look back on the fall and see that Cotter did not play a part in the spread of the Coronavirus.

Even the Winona Senior High School had cases within their sports programs, even with the two schools standing only blocks apart from each other. Cotter students showed leadership and humility as they knew that the decisions they made would not only affect themselves, but those around them as well.

2020 has been a hard year for all athletes, but because of Cotter athletes, coaches, and administration’s decision making and their commitment to themselves and others, they were able to have an enjoyable and safe fall sports season.