Athletes continue work


July 1, 2020

Kevin Wilson

Ramon Cruz sprints the final stretch of a workout Tuesday morning at Clovis High School. During the first phase of work, athletes are limited to five per coach and must socially distance during their workouts.

As professional sports get organized for their return, high school sports continue to make the long trek back as well.

In New Mexico, that trek is going slowly, with practices moving forward as restrictions loosen up ever so slightly.

"We're still in the Phase 1 workout plan that was sent to us by the New Mexico Activities Association," Clovis High Athletic Director Lonnie Baca said Monday night.

Portales wasn't even going sport specific until this week, previously having boys and girls work out together in Monday-Wednesday or Tuesday-Thursday shifts.

"We're going to start a little bit of football and some soccer next week," Portales High Athletic Director Mark Gallegos said Monday night. "And maybe a little baseball and softball; we're trying to get it worked out. ... We'll kind of see how our numbers are."

Portales athletes are doing a lot of weight training, with boys lifting at 6:30 a.m. and girls at 8 a.m. They can choose either Monday-Wednesday or Tuesday-Thursday shifts. "Just so we have manageable numbers," Gallegos said.

At Clovis, football, soccer, cross country and softball have been working out since Phase 1 began on June 15.

Baca said most track & field athletes play other sports and have been working out with those teams. Pole vaulters, he said, have been going on their own since June 15, practicing four nights a week at Leon Williams Stadium.

Golfers have been working to hone their game, unofficially, since courses re-opened on May 1.

"They're not having practices per se," Baca said. "They're just out there on their own pretty much. They go out to the golf course; I know a lot of them have been out there since then, since the courses opened."

The Clovis swim team, Baca said, has been practicing through its club program, separate from the high school athletic program.

Next week, Clovis' boys and girls basketball, volleyball and cheerleading programs will start practicing.

"They will have to stay within those pods, those 5-to-1 pods (players-per-coach)," Baca said. "Three pods in the gym, maximum 15 kids at the same time."

The Clovis dance/drill team began high school tryouts last week, and is conducting middle school tryouts this week and next.

That leaves Wildcat tennis and baseball.

As for boys and girls tennis, "they talked about maybe starting next week," Baca said. "I haven't heard back from them with that information; I don't know if they're going to start next week or the week after. But I would think they're going to start sometime in July."

Baseball, according to Baca, is on hold right now, hoping for looser restrictions.

"They're waiting for the pods to change," Baca said. "The next step in Phase 2 is a 10-to-1 ratio."

Some restrictions relaxed for other sports as of June 25. "We were finally given permission from the NMAA to share basketballs and footballs and volleyballs," Baca said.

But, there are still restrictions. For example, a quarterback can only throw a football or hand it off to receivers and running backs within his pod.

"Another quarterback can't come in and work with the same receiver or hand off to the same running backs," Baca said, "and the same (concept) will be true for basketball and volleyball."

Clovis sports physicals for athletes who need them will be held on July 18 at Rock Staubus Gymnasium - girls from 8-9:30 a.m. and boys from 9:45-11:15 a.m. The cost is $5 per physical, which is used to buy athletic equipment. "However," Baca said, "we won't turn away any kid that doesn't have five dollars."

The district will not require all athletes to get physicals, though.

"Any kid who had a physical exam last year in any sport and did not get injured can use it again," Baca said.


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