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North Dakota practices resume — and they look a little different

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Practices and rehearsals are back on Monday. Wrestling, band practice, basketball and hockey are just a few of them.

“Get back just a little bit of normalcy. I think the guys are super excited about that,” said Justin Racine, head coach of Minot High wrestling.

Racine says he and the athletes are just getting back on the mat after a two-week break. And practice looks a little different this season, like the hooks on the wall for the athletes and coaches to hang their masks on.

“We’re trying to keep guys in clusters in the room. So they’re with the same guys every day,” Racine said.

We asked the sports medicine director at Trinity Health what her concerns are about the upcoming season.

Dr. Dawn Mattern says spread rarely happens on the field but instead at home and other places.
She says the football and volleyball season were practice runs for playing sports during the pandemic.

While wrestling involves more contact, she says athletes only wrestle one person so contact tracing is easier if there is an outbreak. But, that isn’t the sport she says she’s concerned about.

“I’m a little nervous about basketball because I think that’s a different animal. I think we will have different stories after winter because of basketball. All 10 of us are moving around hitting each other,” said Dr. Mattern.

And, as for the wrestlers…

“It makes me feel happy because I’m back in my home, kind of. Just wrestling and doing what I like,” said Victor Garcia, junior.

“I’m just excited to get back, start working hard, get my weight down, just get ready for the next competition,” said Paden Combs, senior.

Garcia and Combs say they’ll take any precautions and do whatever it takes if it means they can keep practicing.

As per the governor’s amended executive order, competitions will resume on Dec. 14.

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