TOMBSTONE — The Yellow Jackets completed their first four days of practice last week after a hiatus due to COVID- 19.
Tombstone Unified School District’s governing board voted earlier this month to move forward with winter sports, including wrestling. Students have to be enrolled in in-person instruction to be eligible to participate in athletics. Participation numbers are affected since remote learners can’t participate in sports.
Brian Miller, Tombstone’s athletic director, said the school is moving forward with girls varsity and junior varsity basketball, boys varsity basketball and wrestling. Boys and girls soccer were canceled due to low participation numbers. This would have been the third season for girls soccer and second season for the boys.
Fans will not be allowed at games to start the season. This decision will be re-evaluated as the season progresses and may change pending improvement in coronavirus numbers. Masks will be worn and proper placement will be enforced by school officials.
“I want them to play,” Miller said. “We will make sure precautions are enforced so we can play.”
The athletes feel the same way as Miller. Wrestlers Devon Mize and David Hanshaw said while wearing masks when wrestling is difficult they are happy to wear them so they can have a season.
For the pair, being able to be back with their teammates is what they were looking forward to the most. Mize said if they didn’t have a season he and his teammates would miss out a social opportunity.
“We may slam people to the mat but we laugh about it,” the junior said.
Hailey Flores, a senior on Tombstone’s girls basketball team, said the team’s family-like atmosphere is what she missed when they were unable to practice. She added she was nervous that they weren’t going to have a season and while she has concerns about the coronavirus she is happy to be back on the court with her teammates.
“(Basketball) is my motivation,” she said. “It motivates me to (keep my grades up so I can play).”
The girls tip off for the first time on Jan. 30 when they host Duncan at noon. The boys follow at 1:30.
Tombstone wrestling has its first match of the season on Wednesday, hosting Thatcher High School at 4 p.m.