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EHS sports: The plan is to play

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    The Wildcats take the field at the beginning of a game last fall. File photo

Optimism even with all the questions. Rules changing almost weekly. Will play, won’t play. Abbreviated schedules, game-shortening new rules.

As we watch the news and see professional sports struggle mightily to play out their seasons, we wonder if local school sports will be able to navigate the dangerous COVID-19 waters and have some sort of fall sports season.

In conversations with school officials and coaches, safety is everyone’s overriding priority. They all want the kids and staff and fans to be safe while participating in school-sponsored events.

Wildcat fall sports and activities include football, volleyball, boys’ and girls’ cross country track, co-ed tennis, band, cheer squad and dance team.

Jens Anderson, Athletic Director and Head Football Coach, stated the coaching staff was very excited about the team this year. They feel they have a very solid group of returning starters and some young guys who will step up to fill the holes left by last year’s seniors.

They have not been allowed to start in person workouts yet, but are awaiting September 8 to get the team together. They will be following all UIL restrictions with the players wearing masks and distancing whenever possible.

Fans attending games will need to purchase their tickets online, be limited in the number of tickets sold and will need to wear face coverings while in the stands.

Coach Anderson is very proud of the athletes who have remained engaged with improving themselves daily through video and other online programs sent out by Elgin’s coaches. He admitted that there have been a lot of ups and downs with the boys as the UIL rules and regulations have changed numerous times since last year in regards to COVID-19 restrictions.

He added that he and his coaches are promoting the attitude of growth and opportunity through these challenging times and cannot wait for in-person workouts with the kids.

Deborah Covault, Director of Women’s Athletics and Head Volleyball Coach, is looking forward to greeting her volleyball girls and beginning their season, even if the prior schedule will be heavily amended.

Prior start dates have been pushed back to later dates, all five preseason games and six tournaments have been cancelled. There is a good chance the remaining games will be held at 50% gym capacity. A revised schedule will be made public at a later time. Smaller schools in Central Texas like Taylor, Giddings and La Grange have already started their volleyball season.

Coach Covault related that the few practices and strength conditioning sessions that the girls were able to participate in before being cancelled all required temperature and symptoms screenings, masks to be worn and kids kept 10 feet apart as much as possible.

Heather Clapper, girls’ cross country and track coach, knows this year’s scheduled meets are all flexible due to COVID-19 concerns. To follow UIL guidelines, there will be less meets and smaller meets, so the schedule is still a work in progress at this time.

Even though she has not been able to meet with her girls in person yet, she is very proud of the training and running her athletes are doing with sessions provided on line by she and assistants. The coaches are also using a running app, Strava, to keep track of the athlete’s performances and progress.

Hector Garcia is the boys’ cross country coach.

Marissa Marx takes over as the Elgin’s Cheerleading squad’s new director. This is Marx’s second year at Elgin High School, where she teaches math as well as leading the cheerleaders.

This year’s team was announced on July 17. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the team has been meeting virtually. The young team is depending on videos made by Marx and experienced cheerleaders to start learning the needed cheers and routines.

Marx hopes to have in-person workouts starting around September 8. This year’s cheerleading officers include head captain Mia Lopez, assistant captains Selena Ramirez and Madi Courtney and social officer America Solorio.

Daryl Remschel, the head coach for fall co-ed tennis, has not been able to work and practice with his players in person until September 8, but he has kept up with them through online workouts and updates from players with private coaches. His amended schedule will be finalized and posted soon.

Armando Martinez, Elgin High School Band Director, is weighing his options to safely assemble his band members and staff. They were not able to have a summer band this year because of COVID-19 restrictions. They have not had an opportunity to practice together as a band yet. Martinez is very excited because the number of members have grown this year and hopes his group has an opportunity to practice and perform this year.