Steps are being taken for local sports to resume.
Monday was the start of dozens of Chanute High School athletes participating in conditioning at the Chanute Community Sports Complex. The first of June was the first official day that the Kansas State High School Athletic Association permitted high school sports to begin summer workout programs – as long as the district’s administration and local authorities deemed sports permissible.
KSHSAA released summer sports guidelines a month ago. Based on COVID-19 pandemic developments – high school, junior college, college and professional sports around the nation have been postponed or cancelled since March because of the outbreak – USD 413 deemed summer workout programs permissible.
“We knew nothing could happen until June 1, so we started planning a month ago,” USD 413 Athletic Director Zack Murry said. “We would have loved a traditional setup using the weight room, etc., but restrictions and limitations made us put safety at the top of our priority list. We have adjusted the plan and are looking into ways to phase back into the traditional setting.”
Steps for social distancing and cleaning have already been taken this week. On Monday, 197 student-athletes showed up eager to work on their bodies while music blared at the stadium.
Several teachers and coaches coordinated the workouts, including CHS head football coach Clete Frazell, CHS girls basketball coach Dustin Fox, volleyball head coach Jory Murry, CHS tennis coach Mike DeLaTorre, soccer head coach Adam Wilcox, and all of the football assistant coaches.
Frazell said it was nice to see the kids back in action.
“It’s been good. I think kids were ready to get back to doing something, being around other people,” Frazell said. “...They were getting to work and they were enthusiastic. You get to see the smile on their faces because they hadn’t seen their friends for quite some time. It’s been a fun atmosphere and the kids have been working hard. And it’s been a positive thing so far.”
Not hitting the weight room as of yet, coaches took some plates to the field so student-athletes could engage in some weight-resistance training. Items used were sanitized after each group’s use. Other activities included agility, body-weight resistance training in the bleachers, and other sessions done through rotating stations.
The goal is to get athletes’ baselines back to where they were before the pandemic hit. That must be done before the next step, which is getting back in the weight room. Next week will be the same plan, with the high school boys starting early, while Royster Middle School and the high school girls following suit with the workout plan.
“It was really nice to be back to work with kids,” Frazell said. “I feel like I’ve got a purpose and a job now again.”
Actual football drills won’t start until next week due to KSHSAA’s limited team activities highlighted in the Week I guidelines.
Girls basketball players conditioned with Coach Frazell early in the morning throughout the week. Afterwards, the Lady Blue Comets practiced shooting in blue and gold groups. Each player has her own ball and own hoop so that those involved can adhere to social distancing guidelines.
“The girls are working hard, and I know we are all excited to see one another again and be able to get in the gym,” Fox said. “We’ll continue under this format until we get the okay under the KSHSAA guidelines to do more.”
Identifying two to three areas of improvement, players planned a weekly workout to augment those skills, which include ball handling, shooting and finishing.
“It’s pretty awesome to be around such dedicated, hard-working athletes,” Fox continued. “They have goals and aspirations, and thus far their work ethic has matched up to what they are seeking to achieve.”