Athletes get back to work at local schools

By Joe Perrino
Town Crier Editorial Intern

Limited workouts for fall sports are underway at Mountain View and Los Altos highs, and that’s welcome news for Mountain View athletic director Shelley Smith.

“It’s long overdue,” said Smith, who also serves as football coach. “It’s great for the kids, getting them out of the house and staying active. I’m glad we were able to get it through.”

The Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District has allowed practice-related activities since June 22 – with restrictions – as the Town Crier reported last month. No more than 12 athletes per coach are permitted on campus at a time to participate in the workouts. Athletes are only allowed to take part in one sport; playing on a club team simultaneously is prohibited.

This is the first time since the schools closed March 13 that sanctioned athletic activities are taking place on MVLA campuses. That’s why Smith said having a fall season is so important.

“It happened so fast that we didn’t have time to adapt,” he said of the abrupt ending to the spring sports season. “I feel for our seniors – we saw what happened last year – so I want them to get their senior season in.”

The schools should soon get an idea of how the fall sports may look. The California Interscholastic Federation July 20 is set to come out with protocols for the 2020-21 school year. Game and full practice scenarios remain up in the air, Smith said.

Once the CIF releases that information, Smith said he expects more sports will be allowed to begin their summer workouts. Usually around this time, basketball teams are playing summer league to prepare for their seasons, which begin in November, but a combination of COVID-19 and construction-related issues have kept them off the court.

“Our gyms and weight rooms aren’t in use, and both our schools lost their outdoor basketball courts due to construction,” Smith said.

Despite the reduced amount of practice space, Smith said it hasn’t stopped fall sports from returning to training. He noted that Mountain View has begun implementing safety measures such as frequent cleaning of the facilities and keeping workouts to small groups. Smith said the school has also been in contact with Riddell, Mountain View’s football equipment provider, about new helmets to help protect players from COVID-19.

“Riddell is looking to add a face-mask type of thing,” he said. “They have face shields on the eyes and they’re looking at extending it down to the whole mask.”

Such precautions have made Smith hopeful that the fall season will happen.

“Everybody that is involved in the decisions – from the state level to the CCS level to the district level – sees the value of athletics, and they’re going to work to get in a season of some sort,” he said. “I just don’t know what it’s going to look like.”

At Los Altos, athletic director Michelle Noeth said the Eagles will continue their district-sanctioned training schedule and assume the fall season will go on as planned until they receive more information from the CIF. Athletes need to submit proof-of-physical forms by Aug. 7.

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