Piedra Vista sports teams plan to continue on with seasons amid switch to remote learning

Matt Hollinshead
Farmington Daily Times
Piedra Vista's Lexi Mitchell looks to pass the ball down the left side against Farmington's Kamalani Anitielu (3) on Monday, April 12, 2021, at Jerry A. Conner Fieldhouse in Farmington.

FARMINGTON — Piedra Vista's sports teams plan to resume what's left of this shortened 2020-2021 campaign amid Friday's announcement the school will switch to remote learning due to COVID-19 cases.

According to an online press release from PVHS, school sports and activities are allowed to continue at this time, unless the New Mexico Activities Association postpones such events, because the shift to online learning is voluntary.

“We’re still practicing… We’ve come too far to go backwards… We’re doing all the right things,” PV girls basketball coach Joe Reed said. “We’re trying to wear our masks all the time, being the mask police at practices… We need to be a little tighter, be a little stricter.”

Reed also said his squad will triple down on safety protocols, adding the NMAA is planning to implement coach ejections after teams receive two warnings if a player’s caught not wearing their mask properly during a game.

“If the girls start holding the other girls accountable, it’s going to go a long way,” Reed said. “What it comes down is (looking) out for the person next to you.”

Reed said PV must keep pushing forward and at least finish what’s left of this season.

“If I have to tape my mask on, I will,” Reed said.

With Saturday's game versus Eldorado canceled due to COVID-19 cases shutting down Eldorado, PV has four regular season games left starting with Tuesday's game at La Cueva.

PV boys eager to resume play

PV boys basketball coach Brady Rivers said his team hasn’t been able play its last three games due to contact tracing protocols partly involving the team, but mainly out of an abundance of caution amid increasing cases and PVHS’s decision to go remote.

“There’s too many variables,” Rivers said.

However, the Panthers will return to play Tuesday against La Cueva.

Rivers also said plans to reschedule PV’s game against Farmington are in the works.

“All of us as coaches have to step back and make we’re doing things the right way,” Rivers said.

Spring teams being cautious with seasons getting underway

PV softball coach Kevin Werth said a couple PV softball players recently had to quarantine due to possible exposure at school, but didn’t specify whether those players were on the C-team, junior varsity or varsity squad.

PV boys golf coach Tom Yost said a couple JV players had to quarantine due to contact tracing, but varsity players were not affected.

Both teams are being ultra cautious as a result.

Werth said PV softball players and coaches are masking up, sanitizing and taking temperatures daily in order to be allowed to take the field.

“We sanitize the balls and our equipment regularly throughout the day… nothing’s really new for us,” Werth said, adding PV’s been taking such precautions since last September.

Yost said his players have to mask up and keep their distance, can only handle their own golf balls and equipment, are not allowed to grab the flag stick on each hole and are prohibited from touching other golfers’ equipment.

Yost also said his team’s already waited more than a year just to resume playing again, so they’re being “ultra careful” to ensure this season is completed.

“They’re not going to make a decision that’ll screw it up… they’re being very responsible,” Yost said.

Yost said it’s going to help that school will be over in May, with district and state still to come soon after. Still, his concerns are whether someone may get sick or be exposed right before or during the district championships.

“That’s what you’re trying to prevent,” Yost said. “We’ll be extra cautious the last three weeks of the season... If you feel bad, don’t come to practice… We have to assume the worst.”

Werth, who’s taking zero chances when it comes to possible exposure amongst the players and coaching staff, said his team has the following pod arrangements set up: infielders only, outfielders only, pitcher/catcher groups only.

PV golf will play in the Aztec Invitational 9 a.m. Monday at Riverview Golf Course in Kirtland.

PV softball opens the 2021 campaign with a six-game home stand at Farmington Sports Complex, starting with Bloomfield at 6 p.m. April 22.

Matt Hollinshead covers sports and business for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577, mhollinshead@daily-times.com and on Twitter at @MattH_717.

Support local journalism with a digital subscription: http://bit.ly/2I6TU0e