Española Valley High School, and schools across Northern New Mexico, are preparing to start fall sports in just a few weeks.

    The New Mexico Activities Association plans to start volleyball, cross country and golf seasons Oct. 5.

    At a Sept. 17 press conference, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced that youth sports practice “pods” could have nine athletes for every coach, an increase from the previous five-to-one ratio, but no “competitive, contact play” as they prepare for the start of fall sports.

    Española Valley Athletic Director Ira Harge said high schools are currently in out-of-season workouts that cannot exceed 7.5 hours per week. The workouts are mostly conditioning, and athletes are still required to wear masks during practice.

    Harge said basketball, wrestling and football as “high-risk” sports are now able to have workout but not contact practices or competitive drills.

    Schools around New Mexico are scheduled to begin sports seasons in early October. McCurdy high school is scheduled to have both track and volleyball competitions beginning Oct. 10, and according to Maxpreps, Pojoaque’s volleyball season will begin Oct. 13 with a match at Capital High School.

    McCurdy Athletic Director Robert Nevarez was not available for an interview before press time.

    Per Association guidelines, athletes are allowed to practice with balls sanitized between practices.

    Full practices won’t begin until Oct. 5. The Española Valley volleyball season is scheduled to begin with a match at Dulce on Oct. 10, giving just a few days for full team practices.

    “The blessing in all of it is that everybody’s in the same boat,” he said. “Getting conditioned, getting in shape, that’s half the battle. And then come October fifth, those sports will have their tryouts for two days and then they’ll turn around and practice, continue practice and they’ll play their first games that weekend. Is it enough time? It’s not normal. It’s definitely not a normal season.”

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