With an unexpected school closure, Pintos athletes were forced to quickly pivot to continue practicing last week.
Starting last Wednesday, the sports teams of California High School had to practice off campus due to the bomb threat the district received. California Athletic Director Rick Edwards said teams had to find other places to practice to meet the rule set by MSHSAA that requires that teams have completed 14 practices before playing any games.
Edwards said the school received plenty of help in finding the new areas to practice, despite the short notice.
"A lot of people helped us out, the city helped us and let us use facilities, and churches helped us out. The gym in town helped us out," Edwards said. "The local police was at every one of the practices until they figured out what was going on. There was a lot of people that helped. For what happened, it was a good experience because it kind of brought everyone together."
Edwards said there were not really any problems with finding good areas to hold the practices.
"We use the churches a lot, and they volunteered and then X-treme Fitness volunteered, the city volunteered," Edwards said. "They let us put a football field in, we went out and painted it out at the soccer fields. Tipton offered to let us use their gym for our volleyball team. There wasn't much problems finding places just because everyone was so helpful."
Edwards said CHS athletics teams have now returned to having practices at their own fields, with the threat investigation concluded and determined a hoax.
Softball head coach Steven Stock said practicing off campus did not hurt the team at all. The team practiced at the fields near Cargill.
"For the simple reason that we play on turf so when we transfer and go play someone who plays on dirt, it may help us down the road," Stock said. "We were able to cover something that we do not cover on our turf, and that is the ball is going to bounce a little differently on different surfaces. So on that basis, it did not hurt us at all — it maybe helped us a little."
The change in location did affect what the team worked on in practice. The team did more defensive drills during its off campus practices.
"We basically made a little bit of an adjustment and spent a lot of time on defensive stuff and ground ball stuff," Stock said. "Things that did not require a lot of swings because we did not have pitching machines, and we did not have any of our protective screens out there so we could not really hit live with pitchers throwing. It wasn't bad. We just refocused and spent a couple of days on defensive stuff mostly."
Volleyball head coach Julie Bailey said the team had to make the best of the situation, as it focused on conditioning during their practices.
"Our coaches decided we had to be flexible and make the best of the situation," Bailey said. "We were blessed; the community stepped up and provided a variety of options for us to practice and condition. Practices were held at X-treme Fitness, First Baptist Church and the California City Pool. We mostly focused on conditioning but were able to get some touches on the ball as well."
Mixing things up at practice gave the players some variety, and the team is back to practicing in its own gym this week.
"Sometimes, 16 days of practice can get a little old so the change in routine was nice in that sense, and this week we will be able to get back on our court," Bailey said.
Bailey thanked the community and Tipton's school district for the help they provided during the past week.
"I can't thank the community enough for all the help given to us. The Tipton varsity volleyball coach, Kamryn Koetting, and the Tipton School District were very generous as well," Bailey said. "They organized a time for us to practice in their gym and use their equipment as well. As is the case in this community, everyone chipped in to help us and that is one of the many things that makes this a great place to live, work and raise a family."