Delta High School setting their own pace in return to competition

Published: Sep. 15, 2020 at 7:44 PM AKDT
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Five Delta High School student-athletes competed in a cross country running meet in Glennallen on Tuesday, the first sports competition of the year featuring the Huskies.

The Fairbanks North Star Borough School District held games and events from August 20-29 before transitioning to the red zone as COVID-19 cases increased, ceasing all competition in the borough.

During those 10 days of competition, Delta was invited to Fairbanks to compete, however, they respectfully declined to participate.

“We appreciated that we were invited to them, but because of the level of the case counts in the area, we weren’t able to attend," said Delta High School Principal Michael Lee last week. “Our abilities to participate is based on what the current case count is for those areas and for the teams that are going to be attending.”

Delta High School, which operates in the Delta/Greely School District, has students attending in-person classes, while their fall sports of cross country running and volleyball have been practicing throughout the fall.

“We actually started the year off in yellow, where we were much more conservative," Lee said. "We have now actually got to green in Delta, but we are still very careful with where we go to and who we allow to come here, just to ensure that where we are going that we are maintaining the safety of our students and that when we are bringing people to Delta, that we are maintaining the safety of our community.”

Valdez High School is scheduled to visit Delta this weekend for a slate of volleyball games. Although many of the student-athletes have not been able to experience a full season of competition, Delta still felt it was important to offer athletics, even if it is just for practice.

“I know that ASAA (Alaska School Activities Association) actually looked at the rates of depression and incidents that had occurred after the seasons all shut down in March. That was one of the things as a school we were concerned about,” Lee said. "When you completely shut down an activity, that is that social connection that students are longing for. From Delta overall, it is amazing how positive the families and communities have been with us being able to get things started.”

Lee mentioned that Delta plans to host all of their winter sports this year, even if there is no competition.

At the cross country meet in Glennallen, Gabe Haas finished runner-up for Delta, while Zander Stossmeister and Aidan Klein finished fifth and sixth respectively for the boys. On the girl’s side, Lourdes Lester places third while Abigail Ruse finished fourth.

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