Indian Creek students returned to the school’s Crownsville campus this week for socially distant athletic training sessions. Over 90 students in grades 7-12 enjoyed beautiful fall weather on the opening days of the workout sessions on September 21 and 22, the first organized sports at Indian Creek since the coronavirus pandemic brought school to a halt in early March.
The sessions preceded Indian Creek’s move to a hybrid learning format on September 24. Indian Creek’s Upper School began the year in full virtual learning, and small numbers of students returned to campus for in-person learning beginning on Thursday.
The sports sessions were a welcomed pastime for the students and coaches, who reveled in the return of their beloved athletics.
“Our coaches were eager to get back with their teams to pick up where they left off in the spring,” said Indian Creek Athletic Director Tyler Larkin. “Back on campus for the first time since mid-March, our athletes were here with more energy than ever before.”
Participants in the afternoon sports sessions adhered to strict safety protocols. Students arrived at the field wearing masks and had their temperatures checked. Individual health screening questionnaires, performed daily through the school’s Magnus app, were confirmed upon arrival. Student-athletes brought their own water bottles and proceeded through a hand-sanitizing station on their way onto the school’s turf fields. Once on the field, students were spaced 15 feet apart in areas clearly marked with cones.
The training sessions opened on Monday and Tuesday with “personal wellness and growth” stations in which student-athletes challenged themselves in timed strength and conditioning exercises like push-ups, sit-ups, planks, high knees and burpees. Students recorded baseline results so they can track their progress over the coming months.
“Daily growth and improvement is something to work hard for and will replace competing in league competitions for now,” said Larkin, who noted the motto for the sessions: “Win The Day. Together.”
Following the initial strength and conditioning sessions, students were grouped by sport — soccer, field hockey, volleyball, cross country, basketball, lacrosse, track and field, baseball and tennis — for individual skills work, team concepts and no-contact practices and scrimmages.
In each of the training sessions, once on the field and spaced appropriately, students were permitted to remove their face coverings, revealing wide smiles up and down the turf as Indian Creek students enjoyed a long-awaited return to playing sports on campus.
“I am beyond excited to have the opportunity to attend these afternoon training sessions and sports practices at Indian Creek,” said junior Mia Putzi, who is new to Indian Creek this school year after transferring from Severna Park High School. “To have the chance to get to exercise is so fun, and I love being able to meet new friends while doing something that we all enjoy. My favorite part of the sessions has been training with my individual teams. It has been [great] to have a sense of normalcy — getting coached by coaches, playing with teammates, and just getting to throw the ball around.”
Senior Paige Clark is not an athlete at Indian Creek — she’s been the team manager for the girls lacrosse team for two years — but she couldn’t wait to join the sports sessions once they began this week. She helped teachers and coaches to administer the session and keep her peers following the safety protocols.
“The after-school sports programs have been really fun to watch,” said Clark. “I love how Indian Creek encourages everyone to get involved … When I heard about this program, I immediately wanted to get involved and be a part of the team. I genuinely love being on campus in any capacity, especially helping out on the field.”
Larkin said the energy has been palpable with Indian Creek’s kids back on the field enjoying themselves and getting a workout, together.
“You could see and feel the school pride and camaraderie for all 75 minutes of training,” Larkin said.