There may have been a slight delay, but Hitchcock High School student-athletes were pleased to start fall practice Thursday.
“I feel like a kid in a candy store; I’m excited to be back,” Hitchcock senior lineman Mikal Bryan said.
Hitchcock athletic director and head football coach Craig Smith reported a solid turnout for the first practice of the new year, while a good amount of volleyball players showed up for tryouts, as well.
“Everyone was cheering and so excited when we were told we could start up again,” Lady Bulldogs head volleyball coach Ashlyn Ramsey said. “It’s been a rollercoaster — all of the emotions.”
The University Interscholastic League on July 21 announced high schools classified Class 4A and smaller would be allowed to begin organized practices for football and volleyball on time, keeping Monday on their respective calendars as the first day of practice.
The Bulldogs’ student-athletes were set to begin practices Monday until the Galveston County Health District made a recommendation late last week to delay the start of sports until after schools could safely reopen amid the COVID-19 pandemic, leading Hitchcock to hold off on beginning practices until further guidance.
After assessing the situation, it was determined that in continuing with the UIL’s recommended safety guidelines, the practices could safely begin Thursday, Smith said.
“I feel really good about our risk mitigation and our protocols that we follow,” Smith said. “The kids are doing a pretty, pretty, good job.”
In days prior to Thursday, Hitchcock opted to simply continue its voluntary strength and conditioning camp. Some of the distinctions between practices and strength and conditioning are more frequently working on sport-specific drills and being able to suit up in uniforms and equipment — in football, for example, helmets and shoulder pads.
Hitchcock’s volleyball season is on course to get underway Tuesday at Anahuac. The football team is slated to get its season started Aug. 28 at home against Van Vleck.