Athletes return to practices, games


Sonia Yost

Run! Senior Mallory Cree runs down the court during the Jan. 12 game. The girls won 56 to 11.

Ben Blackie, Editor In Chief

After the three-week postponement of winter sports, mandated by Governor Tom Wolf, all sports returned to practices and games. Although students have returned to winter sports, new guidelines and rules have been introduced.

Due to social distancing regulations, crowd sizes have been limited to 200 people in the field house.

“The 200 limit inside of the facility includes both teams, coaches, medical staff, officials, police and event workers,” athletic director Phil Riccio said.

Due to 10 percent capacity restrictions, swim meets will not allow fans.

“In order to work within the capacity limits, home meets will be split into a girls meet and a boys meet. The girls meet will be first, followed by a boys meet,” Riccio said.

With the possibility of new rule being enforced, teams have been forced to adjust weekly.

“The team has responded as they always do when facing adversity-they rise up!  When playing sports of any kind, the game itself is unpredictable and athletes have to adapt and adjust throughout the event.  With team sports the added layer of being part of a family helps us as well as individuals may need to lean on each other throughout these challenging times,” assistant girls’ basketball coach Amy Palfey said. “We have had to adjust to several obstacles throughout our time together starting in the spring when we would have virtual meetings, to the summer when we were allowed to lift and play in summer and fall leagues, to now when we had to step back for two weeks right before the season was to begin.  Our players accepted the challenge and became stronger because of it.”

Although the majority of the school year, including sports, has been unpredictable, athletes have kept a positive attitude.

“The atmosphere has been excellent. The wrestlers are upbeat and ready to compete against someone other than their workout partner or friend.  There really haven’t been any surprises, but having around 22 guys consistently show up to practice regularly,” wrestling coach Joel Gilbert said. 

Returning to practice feels amazing honestly. Being able to get out there and compete against other teams is what I’ve been waiting for,” junior Kaleb Spriggs said. 

In addition to crowd limitations, masks have been required to be worn throughout the games.

“Personally I feel safe returning to practices and games. We are constantly together six to seven days a week. Games are definitely up for debate because it is a requirement to wear a mask, and we do play teams that are two plus hours away. I completely disagree with this requirement. I absolutely can’t breathe during games,” senior Adaliz Corbin said. 

The mask mandate has been extended to fans as well.

“Following a mandate by Penssylvania Department of Health, social distancing and masks are required at the field house. Fans not wearing masks will result in stoppage of play, followed by removal. Please respect our athletes and those around you,” altoona athletics tweeted.