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High school fall sports return to West Michigan

Athletic departments across West Michigan are preparing this weekend for the upcoming fall season

WEST MICHIGAN - The MHSAA didn’t make all the right plays during the pandemic, but they got the big one right. Fall sports are back on, and while they will look a little bit different, athletic directors across the region say they’re ready to make it work. 

FHN Athletic Director Cory Anderson says planning and communication between athletic departments has been going since Governor Whitmer made the announcement on Thursday.

“There’s been a lot of anticipation for our teams that have been just practicing, swim, volleyball, soccer have been practicing for over three weeks and the excitement and the cheering from them when they heard they’re going to be able to compete is awesome," he says. "Since 3 o'clock yesterday, we’ve been kind of working around the clock. Been in constant communication until late last night and the text chain and email chain started back up again early this morning."

Athletic departments are still waiting for clarification on wearing masks to play fall season, but say students have been flexible and quick to adapt to the necessary changes. 

RELATED: High school football is back: How the MHSAA ultimately made it happen

"It’s something that we are waiting for the MHSAA’s interpretation from the Governor’s office on," says Anderson."It’s a change even from our sports that were already participating and competing like tennis, golf and cross country currently did not need to wear a mask. So it going to be a challenge, I don't know exactly what its going to look like, but we’re going to follow whatever interpretation we get.”

A similar story with students athletes in Rockford, where Athletic Director Cole Andrews says they will do what they need to do to compete. 

"They want to compete. I think they see the importance of the mask and figure if we want to stay here and compete, mask up and we can," Andrews says. "We're working on what we need to get ready, just the little things like making sure we have the American flag ready to go, our lights are ready to go, our scoreboard. And then obviously we have precautions that are different and how that process as far as tickets go. Things are going to look a little bit different but we're just pumped up and ready to be back.

And although it was previously sidelined football is back and will be played this fall. FHE Athletic Director Ben Sherman says he's grateful the kids have the opportunity to play. 

"I think what's important is that these kids have the opportunity to compete and stay engaged with something that they love and enjoy, and hopefully they'll continue to have a positive experience through it. 

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