Student-athletes from Ceres High School and Central Valley resumed strength and conditioning workouts on campus this past week.
Extracurricular activities, including athletics, had been suspended until further notice on July 13 due to a spike in COVID-19 cases in Stanislaus County.
A total of 29 players attended Ceres High’s softball workout, from 2:30-3:30 p.m., on Sept. 23.
Junior pitcher/centerfielder Brooklyn Heffernan and Co. ran laps around the field before and after stretching.
They also formed two lines and completed a relay race.
“It’s just nice to be on the field — the smell of the grass, the fresh air,” Coach Mike Corsaut said. “You could feel the sun. There will be more girls out next week.”
“It was great to see everybody,” Heffernan added. “I hadn’t seen anyone in so long.”
Bulldogs softball players wore facemasks to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“I’m just glad to be out there. If we need to wears masks, so be it.”Brooklyn Heffernan
“It’s new to everybody,” Heffernan said. “We haven’t played in them. I’m just glad to be out there. If we need to wears masks, so be it.”
“We’re trying to get them used to running in masks,” Corsaut said. “We’ll do whatever we have to do to keep them safe.”
Stephen Dias, who will double as Ceres High’s boys and girls water polo head coach, staged combined practices on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
“When I texted the kids, my phone blew up [sic] with all the messages I got back,” Dias said. “They were super happy. They haven’t been able to be with their friends since COVID started.”
“Sports give kids exercise and get their hopes and spirits up,” he added. “It’s therapeutic.”
Each conditioning session lasted two hours (2:15-4:15 p.m.).
More than 20 players participated.
“The kids did a lot of swimming and treading,” Dias said. “They also did drills without the ball. They went through the motions of where they should be in the pool. We’re hoping this can continue.”
Dias didn’t hold any team huddles.
He addressed his players from the edge of the pool deck.
“We had to follow social distance rules,” Dias said. “We’re trying to keep the kids safe to the best of our ability. COVID is serious. People are dying. I know people who have lost family members.”
Ceres High’s boys and girls water polo teams will not practice today.
“School work is the first priority,” Dias said.
Central Valley’s girls volleyball program conditioned in the quad area, from 5-6 p.m., on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
The Hawks averaged about 45 players per session according to head coach Regina Selfridge.
“The girls are incredibly happy to be on campus with each other,” Selfridge said. “Just being able to see each other is great for their mental health and honestly that is the reason we are conditioning. I need them physically fit for season, but more importantly, I need them to be in an emotionally good place. Plus, I get to check in with them personally to see how they are doing, check on their grades, encourage them to be leaders in their classes by setting the standard during their Zoom sessions.”
Central Valley players removed their protective facemasks when they arrived on campus for practice.
“We have them grouped by school colors and they condition in specific locations all spread out with one coach,” Selfridge said.
The California Interscholastic Federation 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.
“The girls are hopeful,” Corsaut said. “They want to play. They don’t want to lose another season (due to COVID-19).”