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By David Pan 

Preparing for a possible return of prep sports

WIAA approves Wesco's plans

 

Last updated 2/3/2021 at 11:38am

David Pan

Kamiak's Cayden Wotipika does push-ups during a conditioning session Thursday, Jan. 14, at the high school.

Wesco's plans for a return of high school sports took a step forward after the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association approved a plan submitted by Wesco athletic directors last week.

But that approval doesn't necessarily mean that footballs will be flying at Goddard Stadium next month. Everything is dependent on Snohomish County being in Phase 2 of the state's new Healthy Washington Roadmap to Recovery plan. Based on the state's Department of Health most recent data, Snohomish County remains in Phase 1, which all counties started in. The Puget Sound region, which includes Snohomish, King, and Pierce counties, met three of the four criteria last week.

Puget Sound had a 3% decrease in the rate of new COVID hospital admission rates per 100,000 in the most recent 14-day period measured compared to the prior 14-day period. The region did not meet the target, which is a 10% or greater decrease.

Wesco's plan calls for three six-week seasons of fall, winter and spring sports, in that order. The tentative start date is Feb. 22. The plan starts off with traditional fall sports, which might include football, boys tennis, cross country, girls soccer, girls swimming and volleyball.

But the possible sports offered still are uncertain, according to Kamiak athletic director Sean Monica.

Factors include which phase Snohomish County is in, what the Wesco athletic directors approve, and then ultimately the preferences of each school district, Monica said.

Many Kamiak and Mariner athletes headed to their respective schools to begin outdoor conditioning, which also started last week. The conditioning sessions are open to all students, not just athletes.

"When the district was able to approve open conditioning, the focus was that it be open for all students, just like opening conditioning is all the time," Monica said. "It's really trying to engage kids, try and get them out to be active. Our primary focus is getting kids to be active, engaged, interacting with others safely, and trying to promote physical fitness and also social emotional well-being."

District athletic director Beth VanderVeen spearheaded the development of the plan, working with other district administrators, the school's safety department, district nurses, and building athletic directors. The school board then approved the plan.

Athletes and staff wear masks and maintain social distancing. Each participant is assigned to a five-person pod and they will remain in that pod for the duration of conditioning, which is scheduled to run through Feb. 11. Mid-winter break follows and Wesco is hoping to start fall sports Feb. 22.

Some of the pods are loosely organized by sport.

"What we tried to do is those kids, who are student-athletes, we research what sports they play so that we're grouping kids with kids who know each other," Monica said. "Then also as we get more coaches certified from specific sports, when they come out then they're working with the kids that they know."

Coaches have to undergo specific district COVID training and be first aid- and CPR-certified.

David Pan

Kamiak's Ruben Gonzales was one of 143 students to sign up for conditioning.

"It's been an interesting challenge to make sure we have enough certified coaches out here," Monica said.

On Thursday, Jan. 14, softball coach Ann Bradley and new boys basketball coach Joe DeGrazia and junior varsity boys basketball coach Jared Smith were leading some of the conditioning sessions.

Assistant athletic director Kim Comstock, who also is a physical education instructor, printed out a series of workouts that coaches could follow if they don't have a specific sports workout.

"It's typically kind of a high interval circuit training just using body weight," Monica said. "We're just working kids through different circuits with about three movements per circuit."

Kamiak saw 143 students register for conditioning, while Mariner reported more than 90 students at its sessions.

 

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