by Josephine Rivera-Hoagland, staff writer
After interrupting sports in the spring, the pandemic has continued throughout the start of school and now well into fall. High school athletes haven’t had the same opportunity to train in enclosed bubbles approved by the league as many college and professional players have. However, the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) has released a modified calendar for the season, and Maria Carrillo High School teams are prepared to play in 2021, with cross country, tennis, and volleyball athletes currently training in clubs while others wait for permission from the district.
The boys’ and girls’ golf teams have been combined for the spring season, with section playoffs starting June 12 next year.
As of October, coach Chris Nelle has not established any formal practices, nor have many of the athletes been training on their own, according to senior Shea Lee, who has played golf since she was six and been on the team since freshman year. She says that she’s been practicing on her own because she plays outside of school, and that she doesn’t know when the team will meet up again, “which is unfortunate.”
Just like golf, the women’s tennis team will be sharing a season with the men’s team. The season will start on March 8 and run to May 15. Coach Robert Klyce says that some players are at La Cantera Racquet and Swim Club, with others competing at NorCal tournaments. However, while “there are no formalized teams going on,” he continues to reach out “once a month” to athletes via text.
When the local health guidelines do allow practices at the high school, at least one coach must be present for the team to be practicing, along with other special guidelines such as separate tennis balls for each side and strict mask enforcement. Klyce believes tennis is safer than many other high school sports, citing the US Open, where only one player in the athletes’ bubble tested positive for coronavirus.
For the Carrillo cross country team, the season starts in December, and coach Greg Fogg has been making sure that the team is well-prepared. He has started an independent Peninsula Flyers club, where all are free to join, although it is primarily Carrillo athletes. Currently, the freshmen and the majority of the girls’ team has signed up, while the varsity boys are training on their own in order to have a more flexible schedule.
Brooke Cregan, a junior on the varsity team, says that she hasn’t “been able to train with as many people” since shelter-in-place started, where she started out running with only one other person. In general, the pandemic has “gotten easier as everyone’s gotten used to it, but at the same time it’s gotten harder because we didn’t ever think it would happen for this long.”
I do feel safe, I feel like most people are trying to be really careful.”-Brooke Cregan
The team meets four days a week at 6:30 a.m., where temperatures are checked by parent volunteers and the list of coronavirus symptoms are read off. All must wear masks until they are organized into their individual groups of five to ten people; runners can remove their gators during the run unless they’re passing others on the trail. Practices end at about 7:45 a.m., so that the athletes have time before school. In addition to practices, the girls’ team has been meeting Wednesday and Sunday afternoons for additional work on form and core strength. Time trials have been set up as well to serve as fitness checks since there are no meets.
“I do feel safe, I feel like most people are trying to be really careful,” says Cregan.
Practices were planned to start on Monday, Oct. 19, but volleyball coach Christine Woodbury has still been trying to work with the administration to find the right time. In the meantime, she has been reaching out to the seniors once a week, who will help supervise the underclassmen.
The team will be able to train at the school; however, no equipment is allowed and masks must be worn the entire time. The exact training schedule is being worked out with the district, but Woodbury has remained optimistic. The practices will be mostly conditioning; volleyballs will not be used, and as specified by the school, the training groups must be 16 people or fewer.
Since she also coaches at Rincon Valley Middle School, Woodbury has been able to reach out to incoming freshmen as well, and also hopes to have a notice posted.
Rachel Reynolds, a sophomore who played last year, has been doing club volleyball and is excited at the prospect of seeing her team again. For her club, “it’s not the same but it’s as close as it’s gonna get,” she said, describing the practices, currently located at the epicenter.
At the school practices, Reynolds thinks it will be mostly leg, cardio, and some upper body work in place of nets and volleyballs.
Despite the mandatory masks and distancing, “I think it’s going to be really fun” playing in her tight-knit team, says Reynolds.
Head coach Jay Higgins says that as of now, the football team has done nothing that they usually would have, such as the summer training camp or strength training. Everything “has been and will continue to be fluid” during the pandemic, although there have been discussions of the team returning for conditioning similar to what the volleyball team will be doing.
If any students want to join a fall sport, please visit the Carrillo website under Fall sports for the coaches’ information.