Owl Athletes Safety Return to Practice

owls athletics

Sports is back on the Overlake campus, but it has never looked more different!

It has been a week of teamwork, camaraderie, and developing skills. It has also been a week minus high fives, chest bumps, and team huddles. "I never imagined that this is how I'd start my Senior year in Volleyball," says varsity player Ivy H. ('21) as she enters her first practice. Instead of stepping onto the volleyball court, she's meeting four teammates on the practice field adjacent to the gym. 

Varsity Volleyball Coach Mindy McGrath explains a drill outside and physically distanced

Washington's Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) has laid out clear rules for teams returning to sports. While no timeline has been set for competition, schools are slowly allowing student athletes to return to practice. Overlake coaches and players are thrilled for the opportunity to play sports even if it's very different. "For us it's changing out mindset that we're not preparing for a state champion," explains Varsity Volleyball Coach Mindy McGrath who had high expectations for this year's squad. "This is now an opportunity to get together as our volleyball family where we can do drills that will help with ball control and conditioning. Mostly for us it's great for the social aspect of coming together. I'm reassuring our players that we are all in the same boat, stay positive, and make the best of this situation."

Players agree and are elated, but understand that they must adhere to strict rules for activities to continue. Participants get health screenings upon entering campus and must stay within their pod area during activities. Another major change is facilities. With all activities outside, it means sports like volleyball and basketball are being played in a new environment. Basketball players work within three pods between the gym and field house. "It's just awesome to be back at school and outside with friends, " says Corbett M. ('23). "I've been staying active through Jeremy's workouts and getting outside, and while it's nice to get back to seeing friends, I'm really looking forward to competition and playing some games."

Basketball Practices take place outside in three areas 

While it's too early to know the future of competition, WIAA administrators are working closely with health experts to devise a schedule for a return to games and events. "We are planning to play in the spring, and have state guidelines that are approved that must be met," says WIAA Executive Director Mick Hoffman. "We are working together for solutions and we have a planned schedule that we fully implement and even though we're not playing fall sports now. We plan to play at the end of February."

Click here to see our Owls Pledge.