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Athletics department resumes practices with COVID-19 safety regulations in place

As Pittsburg State’s two-week break from extracurricular activities came to an end on Monday, Sept. 14, fall athletics was finally able to resume practices following strict COVID-19 safety regulations.  

“Other than having additional health and safety precautionary guidelines in place, we’re back, at this point, with fairly normal activities,” said Jim Johnson, director of intercollegiate athletics. “I’m excited about all our teams and student athletes maybe getting an opportunity to compete, this is really been tough on everybody, so anything we get to do at this point is a bonus.” 

The volleyball team resumed practice, but Head Volleyball Coach Jen Gomez has decided to handle the pandemic and the volleyball team as if they were in off season with the hope of a spring conference season beginning in February. 

“We are conducting individual and small group training sessions with a few team practices,” Gomez said.  

On Wednesday, Sept. 23, the athletics department announced four more football games already scheduled for this fall with the expectation of adding a fifth game, giving the football players and Brian Wright, the new head football coach, an opportunity to play some football this fall. 

 The first home football game is set for Oct. 31. The Gorillas will take on our division rivals, the Nebraska-Kearney Lopers at Carnie Smith Stadium at 1 p.m. followed by an away game on Nov. 7 against the Gorilla’s other division rival, Missouri Western, at the Spratt Stadium at 3 p.m.  

“(I’m) certainly excited to be able to play here at Carnie Smith Stadium, on our campus, in front of our fans and I know our guys will be really excited about that opportunity,” Wright said.  

Stephen F. Austin State University announced that the Gorillas will take on the Lumberjacks at Homer Bryce Stadium in Nacodgoches, Texas on Saturday, Nov. 14, at 4 p.m.  

According to a statement released by Pitt State athletics, “There is still room to add a fifth game to our schedule on Nov. 21. We are working to secure a second home game to be played at Carnie Smith Stadium that day.” 

Following that match, the Gorillas will travel to Canyon, Texas and go head to head with DII member West Texas A&M on Nov. 28. The time for that match has yet to be determined.  

The men’s basketball team plans to resume normal practice on Thursday, Oct. 15. They are waiting on the MIAA to confirm whether or not the winter season is to be resumed in early Nov. with only 22 non-conference games to be expected. As of right now, the basketball team is only able to practice for eight hours a week, divided between four hours of strength and conditioning and four hours of on-court practice.  

The men’s and women’s cross country teams resumed practices but have no new information from the MIAA if their seasons and championships this fall will be resumed.  

Pitt State Athletics expects fans to be able to attend sporting events after virus mitigation measures are discussed with the Crawford County Health Department and the Bryant Student Health Center. A crowd limit is to be expected.  

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