06-25-2020 Tri-city Area Sports

NEXT… Like a line at the local grocery store, were numerous kayakers waiting for their turn to launch over the weekend in Watervliet at the county park on the Paw Paw River. High heat and humidity made this river even more attractive than usual. (Contributed photo)

Coloma Press Box By Dave Vollrath

Coloma Comet athletes back on the fields; state issues guidelines

There has probably never been a time in the history of this great country when one school year has come to a close one week and so many students, school staff, and even the parents have been immediately ready for the next school year to begin. Whether or not the K-12 schools in Michigan open on time later this summer is still being discussed by a panel of educational, government, and state health officials.

If they open, how many changes will take place at the direction of this panel, whose main objective at this point would certainly be the health and safety of the students? All of this is still anyone’s guess. In speaking with people around the area the last couple of weeks, most folks are confident that the 2020-21 school year will be happening. And of course along with that would be our Comet high school sports which are badly needed by our young people as part of their process in growing into adults.

A little more than a week ago the Michigan High School Athletic Association, the governing body over Michigan high school sports, announced to the schools that they once again could begin allowing the coaches to hold summer team conditioning drills at the schools but could do so outdoors only, and under specific guidelines. By now most people know the COVID-19 routine you must take part in before being allowed into many area businesses. Many of those same requirements will be necessary for the Coloma athletes to participate in each day’s work outs.

Comet Athletic Director Wendy Goodline mailed out to each family, who have students in the Coloma high school, a letter stipulating these requirements which affect every athlete, and also a list of rules for each specific sport. Some of the rules that must take place each day before participating for all athletes are as follows. They will have to satisfactorily answer four health related questions and have their temperature taken.

At the present time the governor is not allowing any students inside the school buildings at any time for any reason. Students are asked to bring their own water bottle, and along with their clothing, shoes, and towels, are asked not to share their personal items with any other athlete. Students should go home right after practice and shower or bathe immediately. When outside, face masks are optional. Sanitizer should be made available, and used by the coaches to clean equipment during activity, frequently, and afterward. Social distancing will take place, with 6-foot spacing, at all times during workouts. If there is a COVID-19 exposure, the sport and participants will not be allowed to participate for a minimum of 14 days.

Additional rules by sport

Football: Each player must keep a social distancing space from all other players and coaches. Common equipment such as the balls must be cleaned frequently and as needed during the workout. No contact what so ever among the players or with the players and equipment including sleds, dummies, or shields. No safety equipment should be worn except helmets at the present time.

Cross-country/ Track and Field: Runners should keep a 6-foot spacing between themselves and all other runners, with no grouping up, such as at the start or the finish.

Volleyball: There must be a 6-foot spacing between all players during any of the drills. The balls and other common equipment must be cleaned as needed during the session. All activity must take place outdoors.

Soccer: There should be no physical contact among the players and all drills should be designed to avoid player contact, and once again the soccer balls should be cleaned and disinfected frequently.

Sideline Cheer: No physical contact; chants and jumps only, with social distancing necessary.

Basketball: All activity presently has to take place outdoors, and all drills and conditioning runs should be done with proper spacing. All basketballs should be cleaned and wiped frequently, and as needed.

Baseball/Softball: All players should stay physically distant, and players should not share their equipment, including gloves, shoes, batting gloves, helmets, hats, or other catcher’s equipment.

Golf: Maintain social distancing.

Conditioning schedules

The following is a list of the current Coloma teams’ practice schedules. These are not official practices but preparations and conditioning only.

Football will be meeting on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 5:30-7:30 p.m. The 7 on 7 scrimmages that take place every summer will hopefully also take place this year on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6 p.m., July 7 thru 23.

Baseball will meet up on Tuesdays 6-8 p.m. at the Coloma baseball field.

Volleyball will meet outside at the softball field, Monday thru Thursday 7:30-9:00 a.m.

Cross Country will begin on June 28 at Coach Churchill’s Farm at 7 p.m.; and Tuesdays at the high school at 9 a.m.

Boys basketball is meeting on Tuesdays at 5-6 p.m. and Saturdays 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., and will be meeting on the Comet track until they are allowed to go back inside.

High School cheer will be meeting on the grass outside the wrestling room on Wednesdays from 10-11 a.m.

A note to Middle School parents says that there will be no summer workouts until late August.

National sports scene

As the professional sporting world is still struggling with when and how they will be able to get competition going again, baseball in particular was dealt another blow this week. The players once again rejected the owner’s proposal which included a 60-game regular season. Billions of dollars of lost revenue and wages is still the main sticking point.

MLB also announced this week that they were closing all of the major league training camps, with each scheduled to get a thorough cleaning before allowing the players and employees to return. It is looking like something needs to be done very soon for any baseball to be played this season, as the earliest date they could possibly start right now has been moved out to July 26.

Hartford Prress Box By Jerrod Birmele

More Hartford sports begin training – fall sports may happen?

As has been the case for months, and months, on end, we have seen the headlines pour in on the coronavirus pandemic, and lately how Michigan’s citizens have helped lead the state’s decline in cases and hospitalizations. While that may seem small it in itself has had a big impact on high school athletes, across the state of Michigan, who wishes to play sports in the fall. Despite the uncertainty, the Hartford Athletic Department is safely moving forward.

As mentioned last week, the Hartford Lady Indian Volleyball team began conditioning workouts, albeit outdoors due to the restrictions currently in place, last week. This week, however, the remainder of Hartford sports are scheduled to begin their “off season workouts”, as the cross-country, football and soccer teams will see their first summer conditioning and training sessions in the coming days.

While on the outside that may seem like some really great news, the reality is this fall is going to be far from normal. It is far from certain games and races will be held, as many restrictions are likely to remain in place for the foreseeable future, and competitions are not allowed at this time. Certain sports carry a much higher risk of coronavirus transmission. The “new normal” will see coaches carrying around infrared thermometers and clipboards with not just plays, but monitoring forms trying to ensure their players safety.

While the situation has been differing statewide, the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) has been communicating with its member schools throughout the pandemic, and on June 10 the association sent out their second “summer guidance update”. The five-page document features a rubric of guidelines and tasks schools must follow and complete in this “new normal” age of athletic activities. Of course, the state will be altering orders in certain regions over time, and the guidelines will surely change.

Key points issued in the memorandum include the acknowledgment of outdoor activity continuing with groups of 100 (number increases to 250 in regions 6 and 8 – northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula) at a modified step 2, indoor activities at a modified step 2, also only in regions 6 and 8 (including gymnasiums, weight rooms, training centers, bowling alleys, etc.) and that all MHSAA out-of-season summer coaching regulations continue to apply.

Following the key points, administrators and coaches received some of the most important information released in the document, in the form of sport-spec