The Nome-Beltz High School volleyball team resumed practice nearly two weeks ago after an athlete tested positive for the disease caused by the coronavirus. As it stands, the Nanooks may be the only team in the region currently holding practices.

The team had a rocky start to their season, when all athletic activities were suspended and NBHS went into the red phase last month. Once one of their players tested positive for COVID-19, the whole team had to quarantine as a result.

However, Coach Veronica Alviso says the experience brought them closer together.

“You know, in general, that’s part of sports. You’ve got to be flexible, and I think it just gave us an opportunity to be flexible, adjust to the situation, and make the best out of it.”

Coach Alviso and her team are going to have to continue to remain flexible as the 2020 season unfolds amidst the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. The City of Nome is still enforcing mandated travel restrictions in order to limit the spread of COVID-19; as a result, there are no scheduled games on the horizon. For the NBHS volleyball team, however, just being able to practice together is enough.

“They really just value court time, so any opportunity, whatever it takes for us to get here – whether we have to wear masks, have to do screenings, whatever it takes – as long as we get some court time, I think that’s kind of been the priority.”

Although the remainder of the season is still undetermined, Coach Alviso hopes to organize an alumni game for the Nanooks in the next few weeks. This would give her team some game-time experience while staying right here in Nome.

In addition, Coach Alviso is using the extra time she has this season to focus on the team’s future.

“You know, as a coach, you’re always building. So, we’re just taking the opportunity, since we’re not having to compete, to really work on some things slowly, which gives our younger players an opportunity to really learn the system.”

Outside of Nome, regional volleyball practices are scheduled to resume in Bering Strait School District schools identified as “green” on October 5th. Schools in “yellow” or “red” status will not have practices. According to BSSD Superintendent Dr. Bobby Bolen, the district, “has no plans for travel from village to village for competition, unless travel restrictions ease up.”

Kotzebue Middle High School has cancelled fall sports altogether, which includes cross country, wrestling, and volleyball.

There are currently 12 Nome athletes practicing five days a week at the high school gym. At this time there are no matches or games scheduled for the Nome-Beltz High School volleyball team.

Image at top: NBHS volleyball coach, Veronica Alviso, observes her team’s practice in September, 2020. (Photo from Sophia DeSalvo, KNOM 2020)

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