While Yukon’s football players began the process of getting back into shape last week, other athletes can begin the conditioning process next week.
Yukon Athletic Director Mike Clark said athletes involved with fall sports, such as volleyball and softball, can begin working out Monday.
The majority of the work will be focused on conditioning.
Softball coach Katy Hoke said softball practices can’t begin until July 15, a date set by the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association.
However, the players can do some conditioning. She hasn’t decided if that is necessary because most of her players are already on the field.
Hoke said the majority of her team is playing softball on traveling teams, which could actually eat into her preseason workouts.
“I’ve already gotten several emails from players saying they will still be playing in August,” she said.
And the number of players being impacted is larger than normal because the summer softball season started later.
“They are playing every weekend, more so this year because of the delay,” Hoke said.
The delay was caused by the coronavirus pandemic, when all organized sports activities were halted.
The athletes were able to resume playing in May, but that has pushed the summer schedule deeper into the fall season.
Normally, Hoke said, only her top players are still playing near the beginning of the season. This year, it may affect more.
“I think we will be fine,” she said.
Hoke encourages her players to participate in summer ball because it keeps them active, and they get an opportunity to see players they are not familiar with.
“It helps with just the experience and that they are playing,” the coach said. “This year won’t be any different for us because they did get to play. I would have been more worried if they hadn’t started playing in May.”
Yukon is expected to return six starters from last year’s squad.
Meanwhile, Rodney Zimmerman, who helms the girls’ cross country program, said he has been working with about 14 athletes this week on conditioning.
“We are outside doing body-weight exercises this summer,” Zimmerman said.
The coach said he has two groups of athletes, who come in and work out for an hour.
While they are just now getting together as a team, several have been working out together for a while.
“I knew they would be ready. … I think they are ready to get back to some normalcy,” Zimmerman said. “This allows them to do that, and helps them when we start in the fall.”
Normally, during the summer, the girls run on their own, Zimmerman said.
“This was an abnormal year,” he said.
The girls are working out Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. That will continue until the week before Fourth of July.
That period is normally a dead week for athletes. However, the OSSAA has eliminated those rules this year.
Zimmerman said his team is still deciding whether to take a few weeks off leading up to the start of fall practice.
Boys cross country coach Matt Parent said he is foregoing the conditioning opportunity this summer because many of his athletes are doing that on their own.
“There is so much going on, and we’re looking at how things will change in a month or so,” he said.
Parent said several of his athletes are getting together on their own to run, which is the same thing they would be doing at the school facilities.
“I am taking the precautionary route,” he said. “Besides, I’ve seen them running through the city. That’s not a bad thing.”
Parent said some of those runners are in the four- to five-mile range, though it is at a lighter pace than if they were in a race.
“They are trying to build up their base, and I’m fine with that,” Parent said.
Attempts to reach volleyball coach Rachel Allred were not successful.