This fall, sports like bowling, cross country, and volleyball are returning, and in a major change from the past two years, there are no Covid restrictions in place.

Friends and families are looking forward to cheering on athletes in person, and the start of the fall season is full of excitement for both spectators and players.

Cross country is one of HBA’s most popular sports. “We have more new runners this year than last year. There are a lot of seventh grade students as well as new freshmen,” said boys head coach Aaron Kondo. During the summer, Kondo and the other coaches planned ahead for the season and held practices to build a strong foundation. Because of the skill gap between the experienced runners and the beginners, each group is following a different training schedule. Kondo explained, “The varsity and more experienced runners have a workout plan that started at the beginning of the summer, and our newer runners have a plan that started on the first day of school.” While one of the main goals of the program is to win the Division 2 championship titles, Kondo maintained that winning isn’t everything. “What’s probably more important than winning is that the team bonds well with each other throughout the season,” Kondo said. “We have a good mix of new and experienced runners, so we have a lot of opportunities to build new friendships.”

HBA’s bowling team is known for being one of the school’s most successful sports, and the team hopes to add to the many titles and banners already under their belt. Top bowler Justin Sumiye, who’s heading into his senior season, was inspired by his dad to take up bowling when he was eight years old. “After seeing my dad’s trophies in the garage, I decided to give bowling a try. It was definitely not easy, but I worked hard to improve,” he said. With new underclassmen strengthening the team, Sumiye strongly believes that they have the potential to win states this year, and he’s also been practicing outside of school in order to achieve this goal. “I’ve been trying to put in a lot of practice time to improve my game and prepare for the big season ahead,” he said.

Senior varsity volleyball player Cori Matsumoto, who has been playing since sixth grade, is looking forward to playing volleyball after long school days. “I just love the sport and that I get to play with amazing girls who are so funny and supportive,” she said. Matsumoto believes that maintaining unity and camaraderie among the team is one of the most important goals for the season. “We all support each other so much, and team chemistry and positive mindset is important to us,” she said. In order to prepare for the season, the team had practices over the summer. Looking ahead to the season, she said, “My hopes are for [the team] to be really close, to have lots of fun, and to hopefully win states.”