Chesterton Tribune



CHS coaches and athletes return to a different world

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Chesterton High School restarted its athletic program this week as the summer conditioning and open gyms opened up.

But, it certainly wasn’t the same.

“Totally different. No question about it,” CHS Athletic Trainer Bernie Stento said. “But, our coaches have done a great job of just adapting and going with the new things.”

Stento and the rest of the Athletic Training staff that includes Kim Stento and Marnee Flinn-Smith, have tested every player and coach that comes to a team practice.

“We basically screen everybody. Screening every kid and coach before every practice. All coaches are required to wear masks,” Stento said. “It went pretty well. We had some minor bumps, but each day got smoother and smoother. Our kids and coaches have done a great job.”

New CHS Athletic Director Jeff Hamstra jumped right into he fire during his first week on the job with the “new normal” this year is presenting.

“Things have been seamless getting kids checked and out to practice. It’s gone as well as can be expected,” Hamstra said. “Having the kids and coaches back on campus is the reason we do the job.”

“The kids are working hard and just about everybody has been there. It’s good to see our coaches working with kids again.”

The only struggle off the field has been technology.

“Technology has really been the biggest hurdle,” Stento said. “The technology is really good, but with technology there is always a potential problem. All of our screening is through a database we use for injuries. We had to teach the kids how to use it and then some internet outage.

“I almost felt like an IT guy this week.”

For football coach Mark Peterson, being back on the field is great, even if it’s different as he deals with a team of about 130 players daily.

“It’s awesome to be back with the kids,” Peterson said. “It’s just different. Things have probably changed forever. When we get out there and get ready for drills, we have to break old habits. We’ve worked hard on teaching the kids to line up and social distance, but as far as teaching football, that hasn’t changed.”

Stento concurred.

“Most sports have been outside these first two weeks to make it easier to social distance,” Stento said. “Everything is a learning experience, but the kids are getting better and more used to it. We’re learning everything from team stuff to basic things like lining up in lines with spacing.”

Hamstra was quick to point out that nothing would be possible without the Athletic Training staff, Asst. AD Tommy Berry and the coaches.

“Bernie, Kim and Marnee, along with Tommy Berry have been unbelievable with the preparation for this week,” Hamstra said. “All the paperwork and other things that went into getting our kids back on the fields was incredible.”

For Peterson and the Trojans who open the regular season on Aug. 21 at home against Hobart, it’s just day by day for now.

“We’re just taking things at face value. Work really hard and maintain a certain decorum for the new process,” Peterson said. “We want to play football and move on day by day. It’s really revolutionary. We’re trying to do things that keep young people enthused and excited, but keep the kids safe as well. They have to understand it goes beyond just when they are here.”


Posted 7/10/2020




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