LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - For the first time in nearly three months, high school athletes could practice at school. The LHSAA executive committee voted last week to allow teams to resume activities that fall under Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards’ Phase 2 plan on June 8.
The LaGrange Gators were one of the local schools that took advantage Monday.
The State Champion Lady Gators basketball team worked out at ‘The Swamp’ and head coach La’Keem Holmes said the players were up and ready to go early in the morning.
“We did 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. in our two sessions and our kids have to be there before so we can screen them. We had girls at the gym showing up at 7:30 a.m. ready to get in. Usually, you will see sleep in teenagers’ eyes, but they were up for over an hour and they came there woke," Holmes said. “Today was almost like a family reunion. You could talk to them on the phone and we have been doing zoom meetings and stuff, but it’s different when you’re in their presence.”
Despite the extended absence, Holmes was impressed with how hard his players worked during the time off.
“A lot of our older kids were in really good shape. We started virtual workouts a couple of weeks ago and tracked the voluntary workouts through an app. Our assistant coaches created a workout plan and we added it to our Blackboard,” said Holmes. “I was pleasantly surprised to see what shape they were in, but we still got them. We still gassed them out because it’s still different when coaches are around or if you did them by yourself.”
While most local schools returned to workouts Monday, schools like Lake Arthur and Welsh must wait until Tuesday due to Tropical Depression Cristobal.
The LHSAA released its ‘guidance for opening up high school athletics and activities’ document last week that detailed each phase and what would be expected from schools to keep players safe. The guidelines require screenings of players and coaches for signs/symptoms of COVID-19 prior to a workout and have a limit of 25 individuals present (includes coaches and staff). There is also a detailed section on cleaning facilities.