Athletes react to new routines during the first weeks of practice

Coach+Carolyn+Katayama+helping+freshman+Kekai+Moriwake+with+swing.

Kenna Kaneshiro

Coach Carolyn Katayama helping freshman Kekai Moriwake with swing.

Kenna Kaneshiro, Staff Writer

On a recent afternoon, tennis coaches hid their face behind a face mask and watched their athletes dash across the court, swinging their rackets and hitting the ball.

Currently, Mid-Pacific students in semester one sports are experiencing their first in-person practices of the school year amongst the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The athletic department has always tried to determine how we can bring back practice and sports back safely, as long as we could do that with all the rules,” said Air Riflery Coach Jon Narimatsu.

The sports that have returned to physical practices include: tennis, air riflery, cross country, swimming, soccer, basketball, baseball, softball, and water polo.

“Weʻre willing to put in the extra time and planning and make sure it keeps the students safe,” said Narimatsu.

Multiple teams have been split into cohorts to stagger practice schedules and enhance social distancing throughout the practices.

“It is a little more difficult to get certain tasks done, sometimes I feel both school and sports runs a little slower than it used to just because you have to clean more equipment and put stuff away,” said senior Air Riflery Athlete Brandon Lum.

The Air Riflery team is split into three cohorts, all of the boys are in one cohort, returning girls in another, and new shooters in the last said, Lum.

Many safety protocols have been added to all sports, which include: sanitizing your hands before entering the facility, social distancing, sanitizing equipment, and wearing a face mask at all times.

Pueo Parliament is a waiting place for athletes, to monitor their social distancing in their time after school and before their practice begins.

All athletes must attend the parliament if their sport doesn’t start 15 minutes after school because athletes are not allowed to leave campus and come back for practice.

“I feel like instead of Pueo Parliament we should be allowed to go home because there’s people on campus and a less chance of contact, so I think if they were to rethink some things it would be better,” said sophomore swimmer Kaitlyn Yoshimoto.

With protocols athletes and coaches do enjoy in person training.

“In some ways, I like it more because I like my cohort and I feel comfortable around them,” she said.

“My experience has been exciting because we ended our season in the middle of March and I literally haven’t seen the kids since then,” said tennis coach Chanon Alcon.

“We are very limited on what we can do now that we are back, but I do enjoy it more also because I feel like when you’re away from something for so long you kind of see how much the kids miss playing their sport but also being with one another,” he said.

Athletes in sports where masks cannot be worn at all times, such as swimming and water polo, are directed to wear a face mask anytime they are out of the water and be socially distant while in the pool.

Coaches have been focusing more on important key factors throughout practices making the most of their limitations.

“We’ve been a little bit more pinpointed exactly on key points with the sport and technique for the kids to focus on because we have very little time to improve and so we are trying to be more efficient with our practices,” said Alcon.

Semester one sports will proceed until the end of the first semester and resume after winter break.

“Don’t be discouraged even if it is not the same just because we’re still gaining experience and learning how to do things, ” said Lum.