The excitement was exhilarating.
And downright difficult to try and hide.
“You bet I’m ready,” beamed one of the amped-up participants counting down the final seconds before the official start of Mooresville High School’s first official volleyball practice. “We’re just glad to be here.”
MHS joined those from across fellow public high school-level programs from throughout the state in formerly engaging in initial preseason workouts Wednesday that coincided precisely on the approved date okayed by the ruling N.C. High School Athletic Association designated to resume the prep-playing phase of the state’s sports season.
Much had to take place, however, long before the first member of the Blue Devils roster even hit the gym floor inside the Mooresville Annex facility. The process of refinishing the court inside the MHS main campus building forced the initial session to take place at the site across the street.
As required, a full menu of items related to concerns over the continued presence and possible spread of COVID-19 filled the plate of the participants.
Face coverings were required to be worn by all in attendance, players and coaching staff alike, upon their respective arrivals and the maintaining of social distancing was encouraged.
Once inside, every individual was temperature-tested with a hand-held electronic thermometer to detect official readings. All involved were also confronted with a personal questionnaire designed to reveal any other health-related issues. Only after each passed all exams were they then allowed to begin to participate in team activities.
The opening tryouts were held involving potential members of Mooresville’s varsity and junior varsity volleyball teams.
The NCHSAA set Wednesday as the starting date for a limited number of high school sports. In addition to volleyball, it also marked the first date that practices could begin for girls and boys cross country. They are the only two prep sports programs that can officially engage in more than volunteer-based affairs for the next near three-week period. Only one other high school sport can also begin practice during the month of November.
Volleyball, in particular, will be viewed closely by the state’s high school sports administrators in regards to COVID-19 concerns. It is the only one of the two now in progress that takes place inside and features possible close-quarters contact among players. Participants will also be sharing the same primary equipment as well throughout the process.
At the Mooresville opening practice, players kept their distance as much as possible while undergoing many of the routines needed to get the session underway.
Participants were involved in practically every part of the opening process. They each begin with a registration session revealing their respective names, class rank and preferred position of choice. All were then processed through various stages of drills designed to test their skills. Some of the players also took it upon themselves to set up the court for the practice to take place.
The Blue Devils will make their first appearance against an outside opponent when hosting a scrimmage against Northwest Cabarrus on Nov. 12.
In also keeping with NCHSAA restrictions, Mooresville will embark on what amounts to a limited regular-season schedule involving the facing off of only fellow members of its I-Meck Conference when welcoming North Mecklenburg to the main gym on Nov. 17. First volleyball matches cannot take place before Nov. 16. Teams can engage in a maximum of 14 matches.
MHS will conclude its regular-season schedule in early January before making any potential postseason plans.
Restrictions will also remain in place regarding the number of persons allowed to be in attendance during the contests. All indoor activities will be limited to 25 attendees.
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