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For the Mount Tabor boys soccer team, socially-distanced conditioning serves as motivation amid COVID-19

For the Mount Tabor boys soccer team, socially-distanced conditioning serves as motivation amid COVID-19

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Mount Tabor Soccer Conditioning COVID-19

Jackson Miller, a rising junior at Mount Tabor, races a fellow soccer player during limited soccer workouts on Tuesday.

The outfield of Carl R. Sapp Field, normally occupied by Mount Tabor baseball players, on Tuesday was inked with blue rectangles scattered quite a distance apart on the well-groomed grass. 

About 12 members of the Spartans boys soccer team were stretched out on their forearms and the toes of their shoes for a sweaty plank before to the end of the 45-minute conditioning session. It was the first night of limited socially-distanced workouts, which began Monday for fall sports programs of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools. The coronavirus outbreak has kept high school athletics on hold since mid-March. The Spartans were scheduled to start conditioning sessions on Monday, but wet weather pushed back that short stint on the field for more than 45 players, cycling through three "pods" of up to 25 people. 

However small the interaction between players, it was beneficial for Aidan Palmerton and his teammates. There's still hope for a season, hanging in the balance as the NCHSAA pushed back the start of fall practices to Sept. 1 — still, not a concrete decision. But the social aspect of a workout, without equipment and spaced about six feet apart, served as motivation for whatever lay ahead.

"It's a lot different because all of us have just been spending time on our own," said Palmerton, a rising senior center midfielder. "It's different training with a group of people. But I think it's good for us to help us with that competition — competing with each other on the team."

Palmerton said the summer has been "boring" and "slow." His routine, in the absence of approximately two months of summer workouts according to rising senior Xavier Marlowe-Rogers, included three or four days of training a week — including weight lifting with friends just a few houses down the street from Mount Tabor. 

Marlowe-Rogers said those few months were a challenge. 

"I just missed that every day when I was training on my own," he said. "I just wished I could be out here with the full team." 

Palmerton said he thought, for a group of incoming students, limited workouts were important. He estimated that two or three freshman participated in conditioning. 

"I think it's good for them because, when I was a freshman, I was surrounded by a lot of older guys," Palmerton said. "First we're out there using balls and (four vs. four). It was hard, as a freshman being smaller than everyone else, right? 

"Now that I'm a senior and that I know they're looking at, too. I know they'll get through it, and I know that seeing us play is going to motivate them to do even better." 

pferlise@wsjournal.com

@PatrickFerlise

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