Story by Zoe Schlaak
Staff Writer

Photo by Sarah Lee
Staff Photographer

SPHS Athletic Department began its season one in- person training on Monday, Nov. 2, adhering to strict protocols. Season one consists of football, girls and boys volleyball, girls and boys water polo, and cross country, launched training pods consisting of no more than 12 people in an outdoor, socially-distanced setting regulated by daily health screenings.

Boys water polo is currently practicing two days a week at the school with no- contact training and only conditioning practices. Senior Aidan Chang communicated that the practices, however limited compared to past seasons, have helped to improve his well-being.

“Practice has been fun but it’s also rough not being in the water for like six months and not doing too much exercise,” Chang said. “I was really excited to start hopping on the grind for polo because it’s good for my physical and

mental health, and also I get to be there with some of my boys. Our coaches have been trying their best for us to try to stay safe. I also think [these modified practices] could be more beneficial because I tend to feel better about life and myself in general after a good practice. It’s been far more beneficial than harmful. Hopefully, it stays like this for as long as possible.”

Girls water polo is following similar protocols and are able to practice in a more normal setting due to their accessibility to pool facilities.

“We started practices last week and they have been going really well,” senior Emma Kucera stated. “We have our COVID-19 guidelines that we follow before going into practice and since we are in the pool we are able to do almost all of our normal training. We are all happy to be back and getting ready for a potential season!”

Indoor sports are currently practicing completely outside until phase one of reopening is completed and teams are

cleared to continue practices indoors. Varsity outside hitter Alyssa Sokolow expressed how excited she is to be back at volleyball practice no matter the circumstances.

“Practices have been great,” Sokolow said. “Being there with my team to support me when an exercise gets hard helps a lot to push through. Having more practices like these will be more helpful and will get us in shape for this coming season.”

Dustin Huang, a varsity boys volleyball senior, is confident in his team’s success this season.

“Phase one restricts us to outdoor conditioning on the field in small pods,” Huang said. “It’s been great to see many of the guys back together again where we hope to compete for another league title this season. I think practices are more beneficial than harmful to our team to start getting back in shape and building team chemistry.”

Cross country has been practicing offseason for a majority of the summer in similar speed pods. Their pods are expected to stay relatively the same except for new members of the team.

“Having the other grades and new members makes practice a lot more fun and it feels like a team again where we can support each other,” junior Gabriella Rodriguez said. “We are separated into pods at practice, so the interaction right now between [grades] is a little limited, unfortunately, but it is always great having new people join cross country and get to know them as the season continues. Beginning official practice is always exciting and I think even though there are more social restrictions, it still feels close enough to a normal cross country season.”

Football continues to practice on the field in a socially distanced setting.

“[Practices are] going very good. It’s nice to be able to be with your coaches and teammates and start learning plays again,” varsity junior Noah Leider said. “The pod practices are effective. They separate us by offense and defense so everyone still can run and learn the plays. It’s not that different than normal practice there is just no contact which sucks for football.”

Season one sports teams continue to practice following the guidelines and protocols given and prepare for the possibility of competing this season.

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