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Blountstown volleyball coach talks about the uncharted waters she’s trying to navigate these days

Published: Jul. 22, 2020 at 8:16 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG) -Blountstown volleyball head coach Leigh Ann Summers finds herself in an odd spot these days. If this wasn’t the age of COVID-19, the coach would be gearing up for the start of fall practices come Monday.

As we all know, this is the age of the virus and all its related issues. So coaches like Summer find themselves in uncharted waters, and rather choppy waters at that! The coach and her team hoping to be able to get back to work Monday, though in Calhoun County that’s still up in the air for now.

The team has been able to get in some work this summer, then for the previous two weeks, the County forced to shut things down because of a spate of positive tests among some student athletes within the school.

They are back to work this week, and from a state perspective, at least for now, they will be able to start official fall practice Monday, though the Calhoun County School District has not yet announced if official fall practice will be allowed starting Monday.

For coach Summers and her team, thanks to a vote this past Monday by the FHSAA Board of Directors, at least the possibility exits to start on the 27th. I spoke about getting that opportunity with the Tigers head coach.

"I think that everybody wants to be able to play." coach Summers told me. "And that's the biggest goal. We want to give our seniors the opportunity to play and go and end their careers. And we want to be able to develop our freshman and sophomore's, and get them ready for multiple years. So I think overall the excitement level is, everybody, they want to be able to play and this gives us the opportunity to do that. So I know my kids are excited."

That start date of Monday the 27th due to that FHSAA Board of Directors meeting which voted 10-5 to give schools the opportunity to start. Wewa’s Bobby Johns influential in that decision, and coach Summers is among those thankful for his efforts.

"Yeah I think he did a great job of representing the small schools in the panhandle." coach Summers said. "Florida is a very big state and we're all in different situations right now. So I think he did a good job of representing us and wanting to push forward for those that can. And now we just have to decide if we can and move forward."

Still there are more questions than answers for the coach, and others in her position. Will they start, how will things proceed, will the safety protocols change? So much still up in the air!

"It makes it hard to prepare." says the coach. "Sometimes I don't know what I'm preparing for all that I can do is the best that I can to make sure that my athletes and the students at Blountstown, and the people that we play are as safe as possible. To reduce the risk of spreading it I want to be able to give them the opportunity to play but to do it safely."

And as far as we’ve been able to determine, high school programs within Holmes, Jackson, Washington, Gulf and Bay Counties all with the go ahead to start fall sports workouts Monday. Again all that subject to change.

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