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story.lead_photo.caption FileThe Russellville baseball team warms up in practice March 11. With schools delayed across the area, Indians athletes are in limbo as they wait to return to their suspended season.

Like California and Jamestown, the Russellville Indians spring sports teams have come up with ways to keep their athletes ready for when and if their seasons start while at home.

Before the season was delayed, Russellville baseball head coach Lucas Branson said the team had a couple of discussions leading up to the last day they were in session.

"Our players are intelligent and they knew that when professional and college sports started postponing games that it would effect us as well," Branson said.

Branson said despite this, it was a difficult discussion.

"It is hard dealing with the time away from our boys. Our baseball family is very important to all of us," Branson said. "I know our boys understand what is going on. They don't like it but understand they have to do what is best for the safety and health of (us) all."

Branson said he is in daily communication with the players through their team messenger app, and he has been sending different individual drills he found online for them to stay active while at home. The messages also help keep a positive outlook, Branson said.

"Several have siblings they are able to play catch with, and I have also encouraged them to play catch with their parents as well," Branson said. "Most importantly, the messages are intended to keep a positive outlook on this unprecedented situation we are living through, and I expect they are doing what is asked. We realize baseball isn't the most important thing in our lives, and I know they all understand that being with their own family and staying healthy is."

Boys golf head coach Scott Johnson said the team had a meeting, during which the athletes already thought there would be a delay in the season.

"All of the players, and me as the coach, understand that this is something that's out of our control so we just are kind of rolling with the punches," Johnson said.

Johnson said the athletes can go to the course to practice while the delay is ongoing.

"Some of the players took shag bags so they can do some work at the range, and they can always go to a golf course," Johnson said.

Track and field head coach Sean Lovelace said the team told the athletes the season being delayed was a possibility. Lovelace said it was hard to tell the team about the announcement when it finally arrived.

"It was hard because of the work that we had already done and for the seniors whose last shot at making all-state could be lost it was hard to talk about," Lovelace said.

Lovelace said coaches want the athletes to stay active while the season is on hold.

"We want them to be active for the most part," Lovelace said. "We still have some athletes that go to the track and do some workouts, but they do stay away from each other as they know the precautions they need to take."

At first, the athletes did not like that the team had to put the season on hold, Lovelace said, but he said he thinks they now understand why they had to do it.

"Most of them didn't like that we had to have our season put on hold — they wanted to compete," Lovelace said. "When we were first delayed, I don't think they really had a grasp of what was happening, and neither did I. But as COVID-19 has spread, I believe they now know why things are the way they are."

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