Masks still a thing for prep sports | Sports | santafenewmexican.com – Santa Fe New Mexican

When you spend a part of your time having your face pressed into a hard vinyl mat, one of the more fundamentally challenging things to do is maintain the balance of the New Mexico Activities Association’s mandatory mask mandate for high school athletes.

Such is the plight of wrestlers from one end of the state to the other.

“When I’m out there, I don’t even think about if it’s on or not,” says Santa Fe High wrestler Elijah Martinez. “I’m thinking about a lot more than that.”

In response to the latest surge in coronavirus cases, the state’s governing body for high school sports instituted a mask mandate for athletes, coaches and fans for all indoor events just as basketball season was getting underway. With cases continuing to expand due to the explosion of the omicron variant, some school districts have taken additional steps, such as banning fans, closing concession stands, limiting capacity for venues that remain open and going back to remote learning.

Albuquerque Public Schools recently announced it is requiring all athletes in outdoor sports to wear masks through January. APS and Los Alamos are among the school districts who have temporarily closed indoor sports spectators, playing games and hosting meets in empty buildings. Both intend to open things up as soon as conditions improve.

It hasn’t yet reached that point in Santa Fe, although the new normal has made adjustments like mask requirements during a pandemic a way of life.

“I mean, we had to wear these things all last year, so it’s not like we’re not used to them by now,” said St. Michael’s basketball player Devin Flores. “It’s annoying and it’s hard to keep them on all the time, I guess, but we’ve done it before. I don’t think it’s that big of a deal.”

The state has instructed fans at all indoor events to wear face coverings, meaning college sports are affected. Fans must wear masks in The Pit and the Pan American Center in Las Cruces, but players and coaches do not.

The NMAA has not taken an official stance on fan access since 2021’s condensed athletic calendar saw the state rule that barred spectators from several indoor sporting events.

The association has left those decisions up to school districts this year, but the association has made it clear that masks are here to stay until conditions improve.

“If they tell us to wear these things just to keep everyone healthy, I’m fine with that,” said St. Michael’s boys basketball coach David Rodriguez. “The kids just want to play. If they tell us to do something as simple as putting one on, I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t want to do it.”

The big test for how to handle fans comes next month when swimming and wrestling stage their state championship events in Albuquerque and Rio Rancho from Feb. 16-19. For now, the plan is to have spectators and conduct business as usual (with masks).

Until then, it’s an exercise in patience for players, coaches and fans.

“I’m not saying it’s easy for my players to have them on when they’re playing games or practicing, but it’s something we all have to live with,” said Sara Baca, an assistant coach with the St. Michael’s girls basketball team.

Schools have …….

Source: https://www.santafenewmexican.com/sports/masks-still-a-thing-for-prep-sports/article_61b2b8e2-7bfa-11ec-9cbc-e3da9b0b1ea9.html

When you spend a part of your time having your face pressed into a hard vinyl mat, one of the more fundamentally challenging things to do is maintain the balance of the New Mexico Activities Association’s mandatory mask mandate for high school athletes.

Such is the plight of wrestlers from one end of the state to the other.

“When I’m out there, I don’t even think about if it’s on or not,” says Santa Fe High wrestler Elijah Martinez. “I’m thinking about a lot more than that.”

In response to the latest surge in coronavirus cases, the state’s governing body for high school sports instituted a mask mandate for athletes, co…….

When you spend a part of your time having your face pressed into a hard vinyl mat, one of the more fundamentally challenging things to do is maintain the balance of the New Mexico Activities Association’s mandatory mask mandate for high school athletes.

Such is the plight of wrestlers from one end of the state to the other.

“When I’m out there, I don’t even think about if it’s on or not,” says Santa Fe High wrestler Elijah Martinez. “I’m thinking about a lot more than that.”

In response to the latest surge in coronavirus cases, the state’s governing body for high school sports instituted a mask mandate for athletes, co…….

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