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Schedules, conditioning return to forefront / September 30, 2020
A return to high school sports is gradually taking place after the Mecklenburg County School Board voted last week to allow conditioning by student-athletes under the supervision of coaches. This move is in step with the VHSL’s adoption of the Condensed Interscholastic Plan and the subsequent approval of the Champions +1 Calendar to reopen high school sports.

Bluestone Athletic Director Justin Kirkland met with members of the James River District on Monday. Member schools of the JRD are Amelia, Buckingham, Central Lunenburg, Cumberland, Goochland, Nottoway, Prince Edward County, Randolph-Henry, and Bluestone.

“The James River District ADs met yesterday (Monday) and were able to create a basketball schedule, volleyball schedule, and football schedule,” Kirkland said.

Using the C+1 calendar, teams will only play 60 percent of the schedules they normally play. Basketball will be limited to 14 games, volleyball to 12 matches and football restricted to six games this season.

Though schedules were developed at the meeting, Kirkland is working to finalize the Barons’ schedules and speak with coaches of the respective sports.

Member schools of the JRD would be looking towards November to create a spring-sports calendar. “A cross country, golf, scholastic bowl, and forensics schedule will be made available in the near future,” Kirkland said.

Some other good news for Bluestone student-athletes is a return-to-conditioning regime now has a projected start date. If plans can continue — without additional COVID-19 disruptions — Bluestone is looking towards October to get conditioning sessions under way.

“We are eyeing Oct. 21 as the first available date for conditioning,” Kirkland said. “A more concrete schedule will be released closer to that date.”

Mike Barmoy, Park View High School’s athletic director, said the Tri-Rivers District of which Park View is a member school also met recently to set sports schedules, among other matters being discussed.

“The Tri-Rivers District has met and does have district scheduling done,” Barmoy said. “We are talking in our next meeting on Monday about safety issues, concerns. The VHSL will be sending out guidelines on these things in the coming weeks.”

Member schools of the TRD are Appomattox Regional Governor’s School, Brunswick, Franklin, Greensville County, Southampton, Surry County, Sussex-Central, Windsor and Park View.

Barmoy — who also coaches the PV varsity girls basketball team — offered the same outlook for the Dragons getting back to conditioning that Kirkland spoke of.

Barmoy agreed that the county was in the process of putting together a plan that could have kids returning to conditioning sessions soon.

“I would say no conditioning until at least Oct. 21,” Barmoy added.

The conditioning calendar approved by the School Board sets aside Mondays and Wednesdays from 4-5 p.m. as the time when girls basketball players will condition. From 5:15-6:15 p.m., boys basketball will get to work out. Intervals of 15 minute between workouts are required to clean and sanitize facilities.

Also on Mondays and Wednesdays, wrestling athletes will condition from 4-5 p.m. This is contingent upon conditioning only with no contact. Cheerleading conditioning will be held from 4-5 p.m. All sessions are limited to no more than 10 players and one coach at a time; if inside, cheer practice cannot exceed 10 cheerleaders and a coach.

Tuesdays and Thursdays are reserved for football, cross country, golf, baseball, softball, boys and girls soccer and indoor/outdoor track. All workouts will take place from 4-5 p.m. and are to be held outside at each sports’ respective playing/practice field.

The alternating practice days allowing for 10 different players to swap out at each session.

The VHSL stated last week in a news release that there was still some confusion surrounding when winter sports would actually start practice and begin competition. The league said basketball and sideline cheer first practices would begin on December 7. All other winter sports (gymnastics, indoor track, sideline cheer, swimming & diving, and wrestling) will start on Dec. 14.

Basketball is set to open regular season play on Dec. 21. All other winter sports are scheduled to begin competition on Dec. 28.

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