When the state government announced the first lockdown in mid-March, several spring sports were still in session. With their seasons cut short, returning athletes for this school year were eager to see to see how this year’s sport seasons would pan out.
For much of this year, many athletes continued to train on their own and some teams even held Zoom practices to help stay connected. Currently, all ILH sports seasons have been postponed to January 2021. However, over the last two months, sports teams have begun to meet and train after school. HBA’s basketball teams and running program began pre-season practices after school with significant changes in place. Athletes have to remain in groups of ten or less and have to abide by social distancing rules.
Because fall sports were not cleared for the season, HBA’s athletic department created a running program so athletes could still keep in shape and train together. Open to all students, the program also counts as a PE credit for ninth and tenth graders. Starting mid-October, students have been meeting after school in groups of nine based on their time trials. Each group is assigned a coach. To prevent the entire team from running at the same time, these groups rotate through exercise stations. Aaron Kondo, one of the head coaches, hopes that the running program will help students “get back into the habit of being fit and active [while also] being a kind of example for teammates, classmates, others around campus so that they have an idea that we care about not just our sport, but the general safety [of others.]”
The basketball team also began pre-season workouts recently for both boys and girls. Even before these in-school workouts, the coaches were already holding online workouts and assigned student leaders to create workout routines for their teammates. Now, the teams meet every day after school in their respective Alpha and Omega groups. However, practices are different than they used to be. Varsity junior Emi Wada said, “We definitely do less running because they don’t want us to pass out because of the masks. But, they still try to implement some cardio—we do a lot of jumping drills now and we do competitions, like running competitions but it’s really short sprints.”
The basketball season is scheduled to start in January. In preparation, the girls basketball team is watching video footage of other teams. In addition, their coaches are constantly reminding them that their success will come down to their effort. Varsity sophomore Trislyn Maeda said, “Focusing on getting in as many reps, what we need to do to be better, and how we’re gonna bond as a team on and off the court are big parts to how we’re [preparing].”
Before the preseason practices started, many students were forced to train by themselves and keep motivated while away from their teammates. “I had no motivation to work at all unless there was someone with me,” said junior Aaron Yoshida, a cross country runner. Wada added, “I missed working out with everyone because it’s lonely to work out by yourself, and when I work out with my teammates, I’m pretty competitive so then I try to compete against them when we train together.” Looking back on past seasons, cross country senior Mari Monico said, “[I like] the atmosphere of being around people and running with them and encouraging them.” Because this is her last year, Monico hopes to make the the most out of the limited time she gets to spend with her teammates this year.
With the pandemic restrictions gradually lifting, HBA athletes are feeling hopeful about 2021. All fall, winter, and spring sports will be played over two 2021 seasons: one from January to March and the other from March to May. However, only HBA students who attend school in person (Alpha and Omega groups) will be able to participate. HBA Athletic Director Deren provided this update: “We hope to have more information—from the State Department of Health, the HHSAA, and the ILH—that will give us more clarity for sports come January 2021.” Amidst the uncertainty, he offered this advice to HBA athletes: “Continue to persevere and give your best effort in everything you do even if circumstances are trying or discouraging. Also, do whatever you can to be an encouragement to your peers.” To get the latest news on athletic seasons, Oshiro asks student to to follow HBA Athletics on Twitter and Instagram.