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The Daily Review/Geoff Stoute
Top Photo: Patterson High School athletes participate in combative conditioning Friday. The conditioning, which incorporates mixed martial arts, is an activity Coach Zach Lochard learned during his time coaching at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

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Junior Tylon Walton performs a lift, while behind him from left are sophomores Landon Robinson and Kendal Francois and senior Kylan Griffin.

Game on: High school athletes go back to work

Area prep athletes began strength and conditioning exercises again after a hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic but are under the watchful eye of coaches and with precautions to help prevent spread of the virus.
Coaches at Patterson and Berwick high schools said temperatures are taken prior to each workout to determine if they have a fever, while students are asked questions to determine if they have any symptoms of the virus.
Central Catholic Athletic Director Ree Case said if athletes are not feeling well, they are told to stay home.
And that’s just to get to the workouts for the different schools.
Once they are cleared for workouts, at Patterson High, they work out outside as the weight room has been moved under a canopy.
“Coaches are working their tails off moving all this equipment around, doing extra work on top of setting up hand sanitizers and setting up wipes, and wiping down everything between every set,” Patterson Athletic Director/Head Football Coach Zach Lochard said. “The kids are doing a tremendous job helping.”
The three schools The Daily Review were able to reach said weight equipment is sanitized to kill any germs that may cause their athletes to become ill.
At Berwick, Athletic Director/Head Football Coach Mike Walker said groups are limited to 25 people at a time in the weight room or the gym. He said boys work out the first half of the day, while girls lift the second half.
At Central Catholic, the reintroduction of athletes to conditioning has been “staggered,” Case said, and even those groups have been split up.
The football team started workouts last week, but they were divided into groups that they must remain in.
This week, the volleyball and softball teams will begin workouts, and next week, the school’s junior high programs will return for conditioning.
While the athletes from different sports are not in the same place simultaneously, Case said, “there will be more people on campus this week than there was last week.”
Because things are staggered, there is no loitering after workouts are complete.
“Whenever your time’s over, you got to leave,” Case said.
The coaches all agreed it was good to have their athletes back, and coaches said the virus has definitely shown everyone not to take sports for granted.
“I think our kids are definitely eager,” Walker said, noting they understand why the coaches preach them giving their best effort. “Because you truly don’t know when it’s going to be your last rep.”
Case said the quarantine was tough for all.
“This was definitely not a summer vacation when we were off,” he said. “The kids didn’t like it. The coaches didn’t like it. The teachers didn’t like it. We knew we had to do it, but it wasn’t like a vacation.”
Lochard said that the turnout in week one of workouts was great.
“Guys have come with a great work ethic,” he said. “No one’s been late. Everyone’s given tremendous effort. They’re encouraging each other. It’s been nothing but positive this first week.”
Moving forward for football season, Walker said the Panthers are just preparing as normal as best they can, even though they don’t know what the fall will bring.
“We’re going to move forward as if the season’s going to start on the dates that they told us it was going to start on, that it was always going to start, and we’re going to operate under that assumption until we’re told differently,” he said. “We’re following all the LHSAA guidelines, so whatever they tell us to do, that’s what we’re going to do.”

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