Ketchikan High School athletics are set to resume Wednesday following a brief shutdown early this week due to the novel coronavirus.
Five cases of COVID-19 reported between Friday and Monday morning prompted the school to be closed to in-person learning and activities from mid-Monday morning through 7 a.m. Wednesday.
With the reopening of Kayhi on Wednesday, the Kings' swim and dive squad anticipates hosting its home meet on Friday and Saturday; the cross country team expects to travel to Metlakatla High School on Saturday, and the volleyball squad looks forward to flying north for a pair of games against West Anchorage and Eagle River high schools, beginning Thursday.
“We will be open at full capacity, regular schedule,” Kayhi Principal Jason House said in an email to Kayhi students, staff and families on Tuesday afternoon. “Activities and practices also resume starting (Wednesday).”
Swim and dive
Barring any virus-related hiccups the rest of this week, Kayhi is scheduled to host Craig, Sitka, Petersburg, Juneau-Douglas and Thunder Mountain high schools this weekend at the Gateway Aquatic Center.
Competition on Friday is scheduled to start at 6 p.m., and Saturday will start at 12 p.m.
It will be the first in-person swim and dive meet Kayhi has hosted since fall 2019.
“I’m just excited to see head-to-head racing,” Kayhi head coach Gary Crowe said before practice on Aug. 26. “Last year, we did virtual meets, and after awhile the kids didn’t even like it. They weren’t trying.
“So now we can see racing, and see how they do against everybody,” he continued.
Kayhi has a smaller swim and dive squad than in recent years, with 22 on roster.
But depsite the team’s small size, it will be mighty in effort.
“We only have 10 girls and 12 boys — two girls are divers, so eight girl swimmers,” Crowe said. “We’ll be a little short on some of the events, but I think we’re going to surprise people.
“We’re big on freshmen, for both boys and girls,” he continued. “So I think we’re going to surprise people with what they can do — and they’ll surprise themselves, too.”
John Bullock and Lauren Olson have been named team captains this season. Kayhi started practices on Aug. 4.
“They’re working hard, and they’re working very consistently, right now,” Crowe said. “Matt Hagan, Rocky Elerding and Eryn Brooks are (coaching with me). We all have been pleased with how the kids have been working. We can’t wait to see where they go — how they are at the first chance to race against somebody in a year.”
Just like the swim and dive team, Kayhi’s cross country squad is scheduled to compete in-person, and head-to-head against other Southeast schools, for the first time since fall 2019.
Kayhi will ferry over to Metlakatla for a one-day trip on Saturday, for its first race this season.
“I would say practices have been going great,” Kayhi head coach Katie Sivertsen said after practice on Aug. 26. “We had a little bit of a slow roll in the summer, which I think is the nature of cross country starting so early — July 28 was our first day — but I also think we gained more kids every day, or at least every week, and now we have a full squad of 23.”
Not everyone on Kayhi’s roster will be able to travel to Metlakatla, however, as proof of vaccination is required upon entry.
“We are still invited to come compete in Metlakatla,” Sivertsen said on Aug. 26. “They’ve just asked that we follow their COVID protocol.”
Kayhi Assistant Principal Cole Maxwell said it is up to the participant’s parents to release the vaccination information.
“I can’t give out (the kids’ vaccination information),” he said on Aug. 27. “So what we did is ask the parents of the cross country athletes, ‘We need permission from you, saying that you’ll allow your child to show their vaccination status.’
“And any parent that doesn’t want to do that, that’s completely within their right,” Maxwell continued. “You know, ‘No, I’m not going to let the health officials on Annette Island know my kid’s vaccination situation.’
“That’s their right,” he added. “But then (those specific students) just won’t (go on that trip).”
Sivertsen said the coaching staff was anticipating traveling to Metlakatla with 16 or 17 runners.
In addition to Metlakatla, Kayhi also is scheduled to travel to Wrangell, Sitka and Juneau this year.
Looking at the season ahead, both the boys’ and girls’ squads are balanced with returners and incoming freshmen.
Seniors Mickey Lapinski, Connor Ray, Brent Capps and Atreyu Davis are back for their final season on the boys’ side.
Among the freshman who will join them is Casey Styles.
“He’s Bill Elberson’s grandson, so the dude’s got running in his genes,” Sivertsen said. “And he’s just a great kid, really dedicated.”
On the girls’ side, seniors Maggie and Paige Boehlert, as well as Ellie Pickrell are returning, as well as juniors Anneliese Hiatt and Malia King.
Among the incoming freshmen to join the girls’ squad is Carol Frey.
“She’s just an all-around athlete,” Sivertsen said. “She’s wonderful, and I think she has a lot of leadership potential.”
And that gives Sivertsen and assistant coach Lucy Ortiz promise for the future.
“We have a nice big squad, and we have a ton of underclassmen,” Sivertsen said, “which is wonderful because that tells us we’re going to have a big team for a few years.”
With a pair of games lined up in Anchorage later this week, the Kayhi Lady Kings are scheduled to fly north on Thursday, according to Maxwell.
Kayhi’s varsity squad is set to play West Anchorage High School at 6 p.m. on Thursday, according to the Ketchikan High School Facebook page, and the Lady Kings will travel to play Eagle River High School on Friday.
Friday’s matchup is scheduled to start at 6 p.m., as well.
The Daily News anticipates publishing more information about the Lady Kings’ volleyball program at a later date.