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KIF sports practice resumes at Kaua‘i High School

LIHU‘E — According to the modified Hawai‘i High School Athletic Association sports calendar, Monday was the first day of resumption for high-school sports by state Department of Education schools and leagues.

Kaua‘i High School was no exception, returning a lot of its Kaua‘i Interscholastic Federation fall-season teams back to the training fields and gym.

“The KIF decided that Monday would be the start of our practices,” said Kaua‘i High Athletic Director Keli‘i Morgado.

“We have practices for our football, cross country, cheer and girls volleyball programs spread out (Monday). The only exception is that our air riflery teams aren’t here.”

A final-minute change involved vendors having to show proof of vaccines with the school office prior to getting to the sports venues.

“The kids are excited,” said Kaua‘i High cheer assistant coach Mackensie Malkemes. “They just want something to do. We have two seniors, so this is their last opportunity before graduation.”

Tiana Pegeder is the recently hired head varsity cheer coach following a job posting notice during the COVID-19 sports shutdown period for the fall season sport.

“We had seven returning cheer members,” Pegeder said. “But we wanted to give everyone who wanted to the opportunity, so we held tryouts and now have 17 members on the team.”

Pegeder said all returning cheer members are either fully vaccinated or have religious or medical exemptions. Of the new members, a lot are freshmen and still deciding on the vaccine.

The head coach said those undecided people can still come to practice with a clear test result. However, without the proof of vaccine or exemption they can only observe, not participate.

“I don’t want to wash another car,” said KHS head football coach Jason Apilado, who used his first day on campus to get the team unified with electronic fundraising similar to programs being used by other HHSAA schools.

Across campus, the KHS cross-country teams took practice by having its members do distance runs around the neighborhood.

“We don’t have the official schedule, yet,” said Keith Burgess, Kaua‘i High athletic trainer and father of Emma Burgess of the cross-country team. “But Emma has been working on her senior project of trying to coordinate cross-country meets for middle-school students. This is coming together nicely with Run Kaua‘i, the group that has been offering runs and programs for the cross-country and track runners during the time COVID-19 closed the state facilities. It’ll probably run for two or three weeks following the regular KIF season.”

About the only other event more exciting than returning to familiar practice grounds is waiting for the official KIF schedule.

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.
Source: The Garden Island

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