Buffs’ athletes, coaches happy to return for summer workouts

BUFFS ROUNDUP: Friday, June 26, 2020

Whether you’re a student-athlete focusing on just one sport, or a multi-year, multi-sport competitor, the fact of just being able to return to the familiar surroundings of Garden City High School and its athletic facilities seems to be a beehive of activity these days.

Thursday, June 25, marked the end of Week 2 of the summer conditioning and workouts for Buffs’ athletes as approved by the Kansas State High School Activities Association.

Buffs’ head football and track and field coach Brian Hill oversees the big picture component of the organized workouts, but also utilizes other head coaches and assistant coaches to supervise the approximately 275 to 300 Buffs athletes in the four-days-a-week schedule.

“We’ve been averaging about 125 to 140 boys with about the same number of girls since the first couple of days (June 15 start),” Hill said on Thursday as he watched over the outdoor workouts of the high school boys on the field of Buffalo Stadium. “With some of the social distancing guidelines in place, we’ve divided the athletes into smaller groups to ensure proper safety against the virus (COVID-19).”

Garden City High School football and track and field coach Brian Hill watches over Thursday morning workouts at Buffalo Stadium.

With four different stations in place at the same time on the stadium turf, there are another 30 to 40 who are in the indoor weight room, also utilizing social distancing practices, Hill said.

“Each group does all four stations for about four minutes each, so there’s 16 minutes of activity that utilizes many different muscle groups,” Hill said. “The first week was mainly just stretching exercises and some light running just to wake up the muscles in the body. Three months of non-usual athletic training is a lot of down time to recover, and you can’t do it quickly.”

Hill said that the running consisted of just going in one direction so as not to put a strain on the kids’ legs. He said in Week 2, they’ve added some biometric movements, including some jumps and lateral movements.

The Monday through Thursday schedule includes high school boys doing the stadium and weight workouts from 7 to 8:30 a.m., followed by high school girls beginning at 8:45 and finishing at 10:15 a.m. While the boys are outdoors, the Lady Buffs volleyball and basketball teams are in The Garden doing their standardized practices allowed by KSHSAA. The roles are reversed when the girls are outside, the boys basketball teams are indoors as well.

From 10:30 to 11:45 a.m., the coaches are working with middle school kids from both Kenneth Henderson and Horace Good, and that group has been around 60 to 65.

The week of June 29 to July 3 will see more activity where Hill indicated there would be an extension of all the movements used during the first two weeks.

“We make them more advanced, multi-directional and more biometrics,” Hill said.

In the weight room for the first week, the Buffs’ athletes have been lifting only at a 50 percent of maximum for about 15 seconds at a time. This, Hill said, will build endurance.

“The kids are coming to grips with how much they lost during the shutdown,” Hill said. “They realize they were more out of shape than they thought.”

Hill said he and the other coaches had been pleased with the turnout for the summer workouts, with the majority of student-athletes showing up on a daily basis.

“This is a long process of getting the kids back into condition,” Hill stated. “Most of these kids have never taken three months off since they began athletics at a young age.”

Senior multi-sport athlete Julie Calzonetti was one of many familiar faces at the outdoor conditioning drills on Thursday.

“I think we’re all just happy to be able to get out and do something organized with our friends and coaches,” said Calzonetti, who competes for the Lady Buffs in volleyball, basketball and track and field. “The coaches have told us that this will take some time, but certainly the training is much harder when you’ve been away from it as long as we have.”

Garden City High School senior Julie Calzonetti relaxes before beginning morning summer workouts at Buffalo Stadium. More than 250 girls and boys have been attending workouts.

Calzonetti said that just being around her teammates had been like an adrenaline rush.

“We’re getting two to three times more done now,” she said. “I’m so happy for being able to workout with them. Working out alone is not fun. At the same time, it’s a little bittersweet. I was able to do my school work on my own time. I could sleep in a little on certain days. It’s been anything other than a normal year.”

Calzonetti indicated that in a normal school year, she would likely have been competing at the state track meet the last weekend of May, with only a couple of days in between the start-up of summer workouts.

“Being back out here feels so good, and I think we’re all motivated,” Calzonetti said. “Everyone seems excited to be back together. I like the fact that we’re done by mid-morning so we’re not out here in the hottest time of the day. This gives us a chance to enjoy our summer too.”

GCHS volleyball coach Trista Bailey said she had been working with about 50 high school girls as well as approximately 45 middle school girls thus far.

“Well, we’ve found out that they are out of shape, even for those who worked out on their own,” Bailey said. “But overall I’m pleased with the numbers. We’ve got a lot of work to do get the kids back to where they were in March.”

Hill said that he and the coaches were happy with how the first two weeks have progressed, with no injuries, but just a lot of sore muscles. After next week’s third week, the Buffs will take the week of July 6 to10 off before resuming expanded workouts the week of July 13.


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