Mitzi Hernandez putts

Mitzi Hernandez putts on the first hole of the Half Moon Bay Golf Links while Boys and Girls Club President Virginia Perry, right, watches on Monday, Oct. 5, 2020. Adam Pardee / Review

After a chaotic year for Half Moon Bay High School athletes and coaches, things seem to be getting back to normal.

“It's great,” said Keith Holden, varsity football coach. “It's good for kids to be back in the classroom and, for our program, getting back to normal is advantageous. We are so much better when we have an offseason and have some time to prepare for the upcoming season.”

As students return to the classroom, athletes are back on the field, in the gym and in the pool.

The schools are following the California Department of Public Health guidelines that recommend masks during indoor activities and during the school day but not while outdoors. There’s a 10-day isolation period for those with symptoms of COVID-19. Students and athletes are told that if they aren’t feeling well, don’t come to practice or school. If a student tests positive, they can’t return unless they can show a negative COVID-19 test.

And coaches say they encourage their athletes to practice responsible behavior.

“It’s good to be back in the pool,” said Tracy Hilvert, girls water polo head coach. “Though the season ended only a few months ago, it’s nice to have the whole team back together.”

Last year, with delays to the fall season sports, those athletes ended up competing in the spring. Scheduling was challenging for students who were involved in more than one athletic program.

“We are hoping it’s a regular season for the league as well,” Hilvert said. “So many athletes at all the schools, including Half Moon Bay, either opted out of sports for COVID concerns or they wanted to play another sport. Moving water polo to spring of 2021 meant we were competing for athletes that usually would play softball or track. Basketball is where a few of my athletes split their time playing with water polo.

“I’m hoping for full squads at all the schools and more JV teams,” she said. “Our poor JV team only had a few games because the other schools just couldn’t field teams.”

This fall the usual sports will return: cheer, cross-country, football, girls golf, girls volleyball, girls tennis and water polo.

“Overall the kids are happy to be back to in-person school,” Hilvert said. “They have the usual complaints about homework assignments and who has the better schedule. It’s a lot less complaining than they did about online Zoom class.”

Emma Spaeth is a staff writer for the Half Moon Bay Review covering community, arts and sports. Emma grew up in Half Moon Bay before earning a bachelor’s degree in public relations from the University of Oregon.

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