PERRIN MCLEOD charges up the hill during conditioning drills last Monday. (Photo by Joshua Spaulding) (click for larger version)
September 10, 2020ALTON — Like everything this summer, the Prospect Mountain boys' soccer summer workout program took a bit of a detour.
But coach Cory Halvorsen and his athletes made the adjustments and in the week leading up to tryouts, set about on a week of conditioning to help prepare everyone for the upcoming season.
Before the practice last Monday, Halvorsen was scanning foreheads to check for temperature and collecting paperwork. While the COVID-19 pandemic adds a layer of work to his (and all coaches) day, it's a step that has to be taken if the kids want to play.
"We have all the protocols," the Timber Wolf coach said. "We do temperature checks and they have paperwork they have to fill out every day.
"From there, we're free to go about our normal practices," he added.
Of course, "normal" practices have been a bit different over the course of the last few months.
When Gov. Chris Sununu announced his return to play protocols earlier in the summer, the players were able to get together in smaller groups. Halvorsen noted he started with pods of nine and held two sessions a night so that 18 kids could take part.
"It was just getting them through some conditioning and some small-sided things," he said.
Now that they have reached Phase III of the return to play protocols, more athletes are allowed on the field, which means they are able to do some different drills and scrimmages.
"We've had pretty good numbers," Halvorsen stated. "I don't think we've lost players based on COVID.
"Everybody that had registered showed up," he said. "They're itching to go."
At this point, Prospect Mountain still does not have a JV boys' soccer coach, so Halvorsen has been getting some help from longtime PMHS girls' basketball coach and former softball coach Rick Burley.
Both noted that the kids seem to be getting a lot out of just getting out and taking part in sports again.
"The smiles on their faces tells you what they're feeling," Halvorsen said. "They wanted to be out there, they don't care what we are doing.
"They definitely missed it," he added. "You can tell they're ready to go."
Without a question, once the high school season officially kicks off, things are going to be a bit different. The NHIAA gave permission for teams to start practicing this past Tuesday, Sept. 8, and soccer games are scheduled to start on Sept. 18. Teams are encouraged to play a regionalized sports schedule and there will not be scores posted. The open tournament proposed by the NHIAA will have more teams in the tournament at the end of the season.
"I think the games will get us ready for the tournament," Halvorsen said. "We're going to have things we can learn from during the season."
No matter what, the Timber Wolves will be ready to go when the season kicks off.
"They just want to play," Halvorsen said of his athletes.
Sports Editor Joshua Spaulding can be reached at 279-4516, ext. 155 or firstname.lastname@example.org.