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ASD athletes and coaches react to start of fall practices

Published: Aug. 15, 2020 at 11:55 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Anchorage School District will begin fall high school sports on August 17th operating outside in small groups. Despite the limited start, athletes choosing to participate are relishing the opportunity to return.

“Even if there wasn’t a season I think I’d still be out running,” said Chugiak cross-country runner Autumn Thomas. “Running is something I’m passionate about.”

The Chugiak Junior immediately started firing off texts in excitement to teammates when she heard the news. A similar reaction to South High quarterback Jackson Harmon.

“Me and all the boys were so happy in the group chat,” Harmon said.

When fall sports like cross-country and football begin practice on Monday ASD says they can meet with groups of 50 people or less, athletes are required to wear masks when they aren’t competing, and temperature screenings will be taken.

“What we are allowed to do right now is condition as far as running goes that basically means we can practice,” said Chugiak cross-country coach Brian Kruchoski. “There is no doubt we have to be safe, we are in a time where we have to think things through and do things differently.”

Not all runners will return for the Mustangs, Autumn Thomas said she has friends who are not running this year due to the risk of COVID-19.

“Just how much of a risk their families will be at,” Thomas said.

In South Anchorage, Jackson’s father and Wolverines Head football coach Walter Harmon recognizes the risk and says the families of players have been very supportive.

“I get it there are so many unknowns,” Walter said. “It’s scary we have people dying, people getting sick, we are still discovering things about it every day.”

He said his coaching staff is committed to keeping kids safe, and doesn’t want their team to miss out on the benefits football can provide.

“Trying to make it at as positive and upbeat,” Harmon said. “Make sure the kids have something to wake up for.”

The Anchorage School District says at the end of the Municipality of Anchorages four week reset sports could return to normal practices if COVID-19 cases continue to decline.

Copyright 2020 KTUU. All rights reserved.

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