In-person learning returned to Colchester High this week as students were back in the building for the first time since March. While there was a certain buzz during school hours, there was a different kind throughout the campus' outer grounds for a few hours after that.

The high school's fall athletics teams began their preseason training on Tuesday with things looking a bit different.

Director of Athletics Mark Ellingson described the atmosphere as having, "Great energy. These kids are so happy to be out here playing that it's been almost drama free."

The largest and most obvious difference for sports this year across the board will be the wearing of face masks for most athletes; cross country runners are not required to wear them, and those participating in golf and bass fishing are allowed to remove their masks when they're safely distanced from one another.

Some players are getting used to the coverings, but they say it's still noticeable when they're exerting themselves.

“I can definitely tell,” said Sim Clark, a senior on the boys’ soccer team. “It's tougher, and it's hard to control your breathing. But we're going to have to get used to it eventually, so we might as well start now. I'm just glad to be having a season, especially as a senior. I know at the start of the summer, I didn't think it would be possible. So I'm just grateful we get to have a season.”

“Considering the situation, things have gone really well,” said field hockey varsity head coach Katie Comeau. “The girls have been super resilient with mask wearing and adjusting to the new rules of the game. When they do drills and straight sprinting, they get a little winded, and they may pull down the mask for a second. But we scrimmaged for 45 minutes yesterday and they looked great, they played great, and no one touched their mask. It’s kind of mind over matter, I think.”

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