Good Sports: Kingsburg Vikings begin practice following guidelines

KINGSBURG, Calif. (KFSN) -- High schools throughout California cannot begin sports competition until at least January 25th based on the tier system.

But one district is keeping their student athletes prepared for a season that may or may not happen this school year.

The Kingsburg Vikings returned to campus in October, transitioning from distance learning to a hybrid model. The student body is split up with half attending class in the morning and the other in the afternoon.

"In classes you look around and there's 8 kids and normally there's like 30. So it feels a lot different and kind of more quiet in classrooms," says Khloe Hodges.

Hodges's father Scott is Kingsburg's athletic director and the head coach of the girls' soccer team.

"The athletic field and court is an extension of the classroom and so these kids - building these relationships together outside of the classroom - is really vital to their development," he says.

The girls' soccer team is hoping to clinch their fifth straight central section division title this year. The Vikings' non-contact socially distant practice is a start at achieving that goal.

"I of course just love getting to be out here with everybody because I know a lot of people don't get to do this. There is a motivation to get all the schools open, my mindset is that we will be playing and I want to work toward that, and be ready. If CIF announces we can play I want to be ready to play and I want the team to be ready," the coach says.

Indoor sports have to wait till the county moves into another tier but coaches are finding ways for their players to still connect.

Audrena Butts is one of seven seniors on the girls' water polo team. She says it's a blessing to be back in the pool with her teammates.

"Just looking forward life's a vapor, being positive living it to the best because even though it's not a normal senior year I'm just trying to make the most of it," Butts says.

Student-athletes are grateful for the opportunity to be back on campus and their smiles have been missed.
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