On-campus conditioning postponed, girls’ field hockey forced to leave BVH fields


Photo taken during 2019-2020 school year. Junior, Rachel Cepe hits the puck towards the opposing team’s end at an earlier match during their season.

The Bonita Vista High (BVH) fields are now vacant since the BVH girls’ field hockey team postponed their conditioning for 2020. The news was sent to them in an email Dec. 6 from head coach Bree Paxton who made the call to put the practices on pause. On-campus conditioning for the team is set to resume in 2021 with no official date until more guidance is given from the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF), according to Paxton. 

“My heart breaks for our players, but I know this is a situation no one could have imagined and we are not in control of it,” Paxton said.

Before Thanksgiving break, which lasted from Nov. 26 through Nov.29, Athletic Director Tyler Arciaga proposed postponing conditioning, due to the rise in COVID-19 cases and athletes testing positive at various other schools. 

After Thanksgiving break, conditioning was set to resume if players had proof of a negative COVID-19 test on or after Dec. 1. With parent feedback taken into account, it was decided that players would continue their conditioning and skill development at home. Paxton was not “particularly surprised” by all this news, nor were the players.

“The girls are rolling with the punches this pandemic has brought, so they were not surprised [by conditioning being postponed] either. I feel for them, that they aren’t getting the chance to play yet. I can tell we have amazing players this year,” Paxton said. 

Conditioning began approximately two weeks before Thanksgiving break, taking place every Monday and Friday, from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. with only two sessions of conditioning in total. After months of not playing with the team, players like junior and forward Sabrina Ibanez and senior and forward Sachiko Kure returned to the field with players from last season. Regulations were set forth for conditioning by the Sweetwater Union High School District (SUHSD) through the Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) guidelines

“[The team and I] were actually excited [to be able to condition]. We’re outside seeing each other like; ‘we’re actually starting up again?’, ‘this is going to be a different experience since it’s the Corona edition,’ ” Ibanez said. ”It was exciting, that feeling that we’re gonna play a sport again.”

When participating in conditioning, players were required to wear masks at all times. To follow precautions, their temperatures were checked by Arciaga and they were asked if they experienced any COVID-19 symptoms. The players remained six feet apart throughout all sessions of conditioning. Kure was a player that felt the same enthusiasm as Ibanez, but had felt hesitant in returning for conditioning. 

“I was scared of what’s been going on with COVID, because I have my grandma living with me. If I go out, then that would be a huge risk for her and I wouldn’t want her to be put in a position where she would get even more sick than she is now,” Kure said. 

Another factor that came with conditioning was that players were not allowed to use equipment like hockey sticks and balls. Paxton felt this to be “a little” discouraging with conditioning feeling “secondary” in her eyes.

The players did steady state conditioning, agility work, core work and stretching. Paxton saw the players to be in great form and felt that  the overall environment was happy with players finally returning to the fields and seeing one another.

“It was seamless to get things up and running again. [Arciaga] laid everything out very clearly so it was not difficult to get organized. Plus, the girls did their part of getting all necessary paperwork [including athletic clearance and physicals] taken care of to start,” Paxton said. 

With a short lived time on the field, players like Ibanez continue conditioning from home, but are still disappointed about postponing conditioning.

“It was a step back. I thought we were going to get in the groove and gain our rhythm back, but we were stopped. We were starting to become a team again, having that rhythm of running, having fun. With [conditioning] ending, it bummed everybody out,” Ibanez said. 

Paxton still keeps hope for having “some resemblance of a season.” She sees it as a stretch to get a full season in, but is hopeful the team can at least get to play against teams within their league. 

“I have some smart, talented and determined young players. As a coach, I can’t ask for more.  I really hope they will be able to get out on the field together this year and play their hearts out. They deserve it,” Paxton said.