On Monday, June 15, CCSD High Schools were given the green light to begin strength and conditioning with their fall sports athletes. With safety and health being the primary focus, athletes and coaching staffs were under tight restrictions, including size of the group, body-temperature checks, and symptom screening (read more here).
“It was truly great seeing all the student athletes and coaches interact,” said North Cobb Athletic Director Matt Williams. “We are very thankful to GHSA and Cobb County Schools for giving us the opportunity to get back to some sense of normalcy.”
Schools had to maintain a strict schedule to meet the guidelines for maximum number of participants at once, while also allowing all sports a chance to meet for conditioning sessions. Campbell High School’s rotation is typical of what is happening district-wide.
“Football starts at 7:30,” said Campbell AD Jeff Hutson, “and has 2 groups rotating through field and weight room work. Cheer comes next at midday, and softball meets in the weight room late afternoon. Cross Country gathers off-campus, individually, and we hope to have volleyball working soon.”
“Things have been progressing extremely well,” he continued. “Kids and coaches were eager to be back together, sweat together, and prepare for what we hope will be a normal, fall season.”
Phil Matthews, AD at Kennesaw Mountain, agreed. “It has been great to see our students back on campus and working hard,” he said. “Our coaches and athletes are doing a great job of following the guidelines to maintain a safe environment while putting in a great effort to get ready for the fall.”
This first week was all about conditioning, but next week athletes will be allowed to begin using sport-specific equipment. At McEachern, newly appointed Athletic Director Myra Camese was more than happy with how the first week of conditioning progressed. “Everything went well,” she said. “We had a great plan that worked like a charm. Now on to Week 2!”
Student-athletes at South Cobb got a nice surprise on their return to campus. “They were able to see our newly completed turf,” said AD Amanda Pittman with excitement. “It was great to see the students and coaches again. We are hoping for even more success next week.”
A recurring theme among the ADs was how proud they were of both coaches and athletes as everyone learns how to navigate this unusual time. “I want to thank our hardworking fall sports coaches for their dedication to our athletes’ safety,” said Pebblebrook AD, Brittny Jones. “Thanks to them, our first week of conditioning went fantastic!”
Ron Boggs at Osborne reported a similar first week. “Our coaches worked really hard to notify our athletes and our athletes have responded,” he said. “It has been great to see our kids back at work with their teams.”
The added health and safety restrictions are a new twist to traditional coaching and training, but the schools’ staffs have really stepped up and met the challenge. “I have been very impressed with our coaches’ and trainers’ ability to screen everyone involved as well as their positive attitudes,” said Pope AD Josh Mathews. “They have been very diligent and cautious as they implemented the protocols at Pope, based on the guidelines from CCSD, GHSA, our partners at Northside Hospital, and the Department of Health.”
“I think I speak for our entire coaching staff and our players,” AD Mathews continued, “when I say thank you to the Cobb Leadership, specifically, Mr. Don Baker, Mr. Kevin Daniel, and our superintendent, Mr. Chris Ragsdale; also our governor, the executive director of the GHSA, and the many others who have spent hours and days working to allow us to return to play.”
Cobb Schools Director of Athletics, Don Baker, was encouraged by the first week back. “I have been very pleased with the due diligence put forth by our coaches, players, and training staffs,” he said. “Safety has continued to remain the top priority and I know our coaches and kids have enjoyed having the opportunity to see one another and begin getting ready to play their respective sports.”