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Bulldogs, Hawks resume training
• Ceres High, Central Valley athletes given the green light for conditioning
Brooklyn Heffernan and Megan Yorba
Brooklyn Heffernan, Megan Yorba and members of Ceres High’s softball program will resume conditioning workouts this week. - photo by Dale Butler

Student-athletes from Ceres Unified School District’s two public high schools have been given the green light to resume conditioning workouts on campus beginning this week.

Extracurricular activities, including athletics, were suspended until further notice on July 13 due to a spike in COVID-19 cases in Stanislaus County.

“We found out last Tuesday,” Ceres High athletic director John Bussard said. “I think it’s a step in the right direction with us returning to some sort of normalcy with sports and school.”

“The decision was made by the District in conjunction with Stanislaus County health officials with COVID-19 restrictions of course,” Central Valley athletic director Greg Magni said. “We’ll wait for updates to see when we’re allowed to do more things.”

“Greg Magni sent out a detailed email on Friday about the (COVID-19) guidelines we have to follow and how to make it work,” said Derrick Goblirsch, first-year head coach of CV’s football program. “I’m excited to get the guys together and form that team bond. That’s an important part of building a program.”

Ceres High and Central Valley will follow physical activity/training guidelines released by the California Interscholastic Federation. The CIF governs high school athletics in the state.

Athletes must get their temperatures taken before being allowed to participate.

Locker rooms will remain closed.

Conditioning and skill-based drills will be staged outdoors.

Players are prohibited from using sports-specific equipment.

They must also bring their own water bottles.

Social distancing must be followed as no more than 25 athletes can receive instruction from one coach.

“It will be similar to the summer practices we had,” Goblirsch said. “We’re not going to be able to use equipment. It will mostly be conditioning and strength building.”

Central Valley football, girls volleyball, girls basketball and cheer will resume strength and conditioning workouts this week.

Football will train, from 3:30-5 p.m., today.

Girls basketball and girls volleyball will practice, from 4:30-6 and 5-6 p.m., respectively.

Cheer split its conditioning sessions into two groups: 3:15-4:30 p.m. and 4:45-6 p.m.

“Everyone is looking forward to getting things started,” Magni said. “All sports are allowed to condition because the section waived the dead period. We’re trying to take small steps towards getting back to athletics. It’s a good sign we’re out there conditioning. It’s two and a half months ahead of time. Hopefully, things keep progressing.”

“I’m happy,” Hawks’ senior standout football player Isaiah Hidalgo said. “I’m looking forward to bonding with my teammates. It’s just one step closer to the season.”

Ceres High’s girls tennis (6:30 a.m.), girls golf (5 p.m.) and boys and girls cross country (7 a.m.) started conditioning for the upcoming season on Monday.

Football (6 a.m.), boys tennis (6:30) and water polo (2:45 pm.) practiced on Tuesday.

Softball (2:30 p.m.) will work out today.

Girls volleyball (3 p.m.) will hold a training session on Oct. 1.

“It’s a step in the right direction,” Bulldogs’ senior football standout Amare Padilla said. “The whole team is excited to get back out there. I’m ready to have a good time playing the sport I love with some of my best friends.” 

The CIF condensed three seasons of athletics—fall, spring and winter—into two after announcing plans on July 22 to delay the start of the prep sports season until December or January due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The first tier of high school sports includes football, cross country, water polo and volleyball.

The second tier includes tennis, basketball, track and field, soccer, wrestling, swimming, baseball, softball and golf.

COVID-19 benchmarks must be met before athletic contests can be played.

The football season is supposed to kick off the first week of January.

Volleyball (Dec. 29), cross country (Dec. 28), water polo (Dec. 28), soccer (March 1), tennis (March 8), wrestling (March 8), basketball (March 9), swimming (March 22), baseball (March 22), softball (March 22), golf (March 29) and track and field (March 29) all have later projected start dates.

The CIF has yet to determine if spectators will be allowed to attend matches and meets. It will follow directives given by local and state health officials.

“There are so many unknowns,” Magni said. “We don’t know what’s going to happen. Time will tell. We just have to be prepared.”