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Catty, NHS waiting for the green light

Athletic programs at Catasauqua and Northampton breathed a recent sigh of relief.

Their teams will take the first step to return to a state of normalcy in the upcoming weeks from the COVID 19 pandemic.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced on June 10 that high school, collegiate, and professional sports can return to action under guidelines in each county for summer workouts as well as in the fall. As this week began, both Lehigh and Northampton counties were in the yellow phase of the state CDC guidelines.

Catasauqua athletic director Tom Moll knows his staff has been anxious for the green light.

“We are all looking forward to getting started,” he said. “We are currently working with our athletic trainers, coaches and school board to get a plan in place so our student-athletes can get back on the field, on the court, and in the weight room.

“We are hoping to have a plan approved so all of our summer workouts can begin before the end of June.”

New head football coach Travis Brett plans to begin workouts in the weight room beginning Monday, June 29. He will have a maximum “pod” of 10 players with a coach at one time. He was enthusiastic about having 43 players on his roster to begin this week.

“We’ll probably have the linemen go with their coach and so on,” said Brett. “Our next phase will be to get on the field.

“It is a start and a good thing. We have been doing the virtual workouts and the kids have been responding. We have our varsity staff in place, but we are still looking for a middle school coach.

“We’ve had positive feedback and we have kids joining the program.”

Head cross country coach Kyle Rusnock plans to begin workouts in July. Incoming senior Breonna Brinkley and Lexi Rushatz are both eager to get started.

“I am ecstatic for sports to slowly begin, especially cross country and cheerleading,” Brinkley said. “My workouts have been going well, but it has been difficult to stay motivated without my teammates around me.

“I am really excited to hear sports are opening up because life is pretty boring without them,” said Rushatz. “Not only did I miss track, but I also was unable to compete in tournaments with my club soccer team.

“I think everyone is excited to work out as a team again. I really have been pushing myself and I feel as though this break will help me a little. I have been able to change out my workouts and incorporate hill workouts and long runs.”

Northampton athletic director Shaun Murray sees the unveiling of a plan in the near future.

“We are currently working closely with our administration, coaches, and St. Luke’s University Health Network to develop our Health & Safety Plan for athletics and activities in order to reintroduce our students to participation on campus,” said Murray. “The process will determine our time frame so I do not currently have specific dates to offer. However, we are working diligently to provide our students involved in athletics and activities with a safe and rewarding environment for summer activities and then we will focus on fall participation, competition, etc.”

Northampton head football coach Kyle Haas also is anticipating beginning workouts soon.

“We aren’t out of the woods yet,” said Haas. “Our school is putting together an action plan in accordance with the CDC/St. Luke’s guidelines.

“We are meeting on Zoom. Position coaches hold meetings once a week. Our kids don’t have access to the same equipment for workouts. They’ve been sending the coaches videos of their workouts. I think they are ready to get back to practice, and I think we all are.”

Head field hockey coach Carrie Saul has been pleased with the virtual progress.

“St. Luke’s has been offering virtual workouts four days a week,” said Saul. “I have 10 seniors this upcoming season, and I have created small accountability groups with a senior as a head of each group. They communicate about the workouts they are doing each day and ask any questions about the program. It’s great for an incoming ninth grader to already get to know a senior.

“We are anxiously awaiting the restart of summer training and hopefully, an abridged summer league.”