High school sports start back up
By Jett Legry, Reporter
The high school’s sports training is back, but it is taking a different form than it has in past years. The training looks a little different under new Washington State Health Department guidelines put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Cross country captains Ella Yarkin and Ursa Medeiros sprint to finish a workout. The two have organized multiple practices a week without official coaching.
Andrew Sears, the head of the VHS athletics program, was eager to integrate sports back into the school.
“Unofficially they're officially unofficially starting.” Sears said. “What they’ve done is opened up what they call an out-of-season coaching window, which is a time where the coaches can coach their athletes out of season.”
On Monday, Sept. 28, a nine-week window opened for coaches to train their teams. This window is being treated as an off-season training period for players to focus on their sport’s specific drills. The training is being conducted in five-person “pods” with one coach per pod, and for the entire window, the coaches will stay with their designated group. Safety measures for the pods include a quick medical screening with temperature checks before each practice, maintaining a six foot distance between each person at all times, and no sharing of equipment.
“We're following all the guidelines from our local health department,” Sears said.
Sears and the rest of the coaching staff hope for the first season of sports to begin Dec. 27. This initial season would consist of both girls and boys basketball and wrestling, followed by football, volleyball, girls soccer, cross country, and boys tennis seasons in March. Finally, girls tennis, baseball, softball, boys soccer, and golf will tee off starting April 26. All the seasons will be shortened to about 70 percent of their usual duration.
Even before the nine-week training plan was adopted, VHS cross country team captains Ella Yarkin and Ursa Medeiros took the initiative of starting a “run club.” This club was formed as a way for runners from both the girls and boys teams to run and keep up their stamina and speed during quarantine. During the club meet-ups, the teams work on everything from speed training to long distance runs, which sometimes are as far as nine miles. On Saturdays, the club meets for conditioning where the focus is general fitness rather than specifically running.
“It's something to do, and also, I really like to run and to be in shape,” Yarkin said.
Although there will not be any official meets for quite some time, the cross country teams will be participating in Nike Cross Virtual.
“[Nike Cross Virtual] is a virtual season that Nike is putting on where you pretty much run a 5k every week, then submit your time at the end of the week.” Yarkin said.
With only six girls on the team, Yarkin is hoping that more people will join once the official training period begins in September.
“We're hoping that we'll get some more people that have been on the team in previous years, and we'd love especially more girls to join.” she said.
Off-season training is offering an easy way for students to stay in shape for their sport.
“It's a great opportunity for students to get up and get active and move around a little bit.” Sears said.