The Long Awaited Return To Campus for Athletics

The+Lightning+volleyball+team+practices+outside+as+they+adapt+to+the+new+athletics+setup.+

The Lightning volleyball team practices outside as they adapt to the new athletics setup.

Courtney Davis , Storm Editor-in-Chief

AAAATHHLETICCSS! Coach Cid, Director of Athletics at Sage, was ecstatic for the return of in-person practices for our various sports teams. And while many changes had to take place in order for this grand return, she is pleased with the outcome so far.

“Practices consist only of strength and conditioning and individual skill work. We are following the California Department of Public Health guidelines for youth organized sports which is a fairly conservative approach. However, we are committed to offering an athletics program for the entire school year whether we are in person or online,” Cid said. 

During a year with so much uncertainty, planning competition seasons has been a major challenge.

“CIF basically condensed three competition seasons into two competition seasons, and now, 13 of the 18 sports that we offer compete in the spring season this year. We are doing our best to minimize conflicts for our student athletes, but it has been challenging to make a schedule that will work for all – our student athletes, our coaches, our opponents, transportation, officials and more,” said Cid.

As for the future of athletics, with constantly changing conditions a lot remains up in the air as to regulations. 

“There are still several questions that remain for this year such as when are we going to be allowed to conduct workouts inside, are we going to be able to have parents or fans at competitions this year and what if the state doesn’t end up allowing competitions this year?  We are staying up to date with all state and local guidelines and are making contingency plans for different scenarios for all the questions that still remain. We are committed to providing a great experience for our student athletes, coaches and our entire community no matter what happens!” said Coach Cid. 

Off-season tennis had its first practice on Tuesday, Sept. 29, ran by Coach Whit Kenerson.

“It was great getting the kids out on the court. We have a huge freshman class, and it was really nice seeing them hit the ball a little bit,” Coach Whit said. “There was a lot of enthusiasm, and the tennis program is really growing with a lot of talent as well.” 

With this new experience came many challenges, as expected. 

“Making sure the kids kept six feet distance was really hard. It was also difficult to keep the kids engaged, because they are not allowed to touch the balls unless it’s with their rackets,” Coach Whit said. 

From the student perspective, junior volleyball player Audrey McGuff has quickly adjusted to the new ways of practice which are currently being held in town square. 

“I prefer being in person for practice, because I like seeing everybody and it is a nice change of scenery,” said McGuff. “However, typically volleyball requires a lot of team collaboration, such as passing and setting to people. Now it is all individual, and we have been working on individual passing, practicing serving, and working on our skills and technique. It’s super different, but it’s important to wear masks and social distance.”