Sports Adjust During the Pandemic


Kiara Azuma, Staff Writer


  As the fall season begins, so do sports like football, cross country and water polo, adjusting to many different rules and changes due to the current COVID-19 circumstances. 

 Football, boys and girls water polo, cheer, song, softball, baseball, dance, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball and wrestling are practicing activities during Phases one and two of COVID-19 health guidance. The majority began practice in late August or early September. 

   No equipment was allowed in Phase one, resulting in conditioning for all sports. Football practices were only allowed to do conditioning drills without the usage of footballs, sleds, and bags. As Phase two begins, sanitized equipment is permitted. 

  Jon Puffer, the head coach of the water polo team, said “[Phase two] means we can start using balls for individual skill work and ball handling drills, but they can’t be passed to other players.”

  Phase one also did not allow indoor facilities. Basketball players were required to use basketball blacktop and track. Wrestling has been practicing on the back field for individual conditioning and technique. In addition to this, to follow guidelines, athletes have been split into smaller groups during practice to maintain a safe distance.  

  Football Coach Michael Calahan said, “[the split of the team] was a logistical nightmare, but at the end of the day I am very proud of my staff, admin team and most importantly the players, for buying ‘ALL IN’ (team motto) to our plan and executing it.” 

  Every athlete is required to enter and exit practice with a mask on, and are only allowed to remove it during conditioning. Coaches are required to wear a mask during the whole practice. The athletes are also pre-screened with temperature checks and asked for any symptoms. 

  Athletic director, Mr. Mashburn, stated not having any concerns for athletes practicing during the pandemic. “I think athletes having the option (it is voluntary) to participate in some form of practice is needed for their social-emotional health. Also for their physical health. We have the greatest group of coaches on our campus to implement and follow the guidelines to allow this opportunity for our student athletes.”

  Fall sports are expected to begin in December.Pushing back the Fall season really makes this time more like a summer camp environment and allows for patience in getting started,” Mr. Mashburn said. 

  Some sports, including girls’ golf season, have been postponed to the spring season to play alongside the boys’ season. Volleyball is expected to return after pushing back their season when Phase three begins. Their season is planned to start on December 19. This creates facility conflicts in the spring season, but coaches are prepared to be flexible in facility usage. 

  Fall sports are planned to begin games and tournaments in early December. Football games are set to start on Jan. 8, against the Division 8 semi-finalists, San Gorgiono. Golfers, having a postponement on their season, have been participating in local tournaments individually to improve their scores. 

  The head coaches have remained the same on staff for all sports. In football, Coach Calahan said, “I am proud to have hired two former Wolverines: Class of 2015 studs Cole Thomas and Remy Wasserbach” to help coach his teams. 

   Recruitment of freshmen have had changes for this season. “The majority of our sports are cut sports, so we decided as a staff that sports who did not plan to cut this year could allow interested freshmen into their program. The sports that did want to cut do not have freshmen,” Mr. Mashburn explained. 

  Sports who cut require tryouts and only accept a certain number of athletes. Sports who have decided to cut are hopeful to have the same numbers of participants in the past when tryouts are allowed to be held. 

  Sports that have accepted freshmen have seen impressive recruitment. Coach Calahan is excited for this year’s football teams, welcoming freshmen like Lucas Short, Luke Jones, Josh Martine, Luke Ewert, Dylan Kissen and Malachi McClanahan, who ran sub 5.0 flat 40 yard dashes during their practice. He also stated having a very talented deep senior, junior, and sophomore class this year that will contribute to the football teams’ success.

  Phase two is scheduled to begin, which will bring more flexibility in practices and equipment usage as athletes continue their practice for the fall season.

  “It’s been awesome just to get the kids back on campus and together, while providing them with a safe environment to exercise,” said Coach Puffer.