ST. JOSEPH (WCIA) — Wearing a mask isn’t stopping the St. Joseph-Ogden volleyball team from working out. The Spartans are continuing to practice this summer, in hopes of a fall season, despite their time together looking a lot different.
“We’ve been working hard all summer, and it feels good just to be back with everyone,” St. Joseph-Ogden junior outside hitter Kennedi Burnett said. “It’s not what we want but we just have to respect the process and do what we can right now.”
The Spartans are following the IHSA Phase 4 Return to Play guidelines, forcing them to wear masks indoors and limit their gatherings to 50 people. With 55 athletes in the program, it presents a scheduling challenge for head coach Abby McDonald. As a result, she has a first come, first serve policy. Players must sign up to come ahead of the morning practices, to insure they meet the protocol.
“That’s one challenge that the kids will have, besides just myself as a coach,” St. Joseph-Ogden head coach Abby McDonald said. “Encouraging them to communicate ahead of time, especially in serve receive, but then also being able to communicate in a louder manner than what they’re used to. Our kids have been really positive about it and they really just want to play so they’re willing to make whatever changes they need to with the mask on.”
The workouts are separated into three different groups throughout the school. Cardio takes place in the hallway, strength in the weight room and court time in the gym. Both coaches and athletes are cleaning equipment and volleyballs in between rotating groups.
“I think each season has a challenge, and this has definitely been one of them for this season, but I just really want these kids to stay healthy and be safe, but also hopefully be able to have a season,” McDonald said.
St. Joseph-Ogden is coming off a third place finish in state, the second trophy in the last four years after finishing second back in 2016.