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Cedar athletes anxious to get back to action

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HARTINGTON — To say that the COVID-19 pandemic has made a mess of things for Cedar Catholic winter sports would be considered an understatement.

Two basketball teams - one from each the boys and girls side of the court - with plenty of promise entering the new season were sidelined for two weeks due to the virus that has strangled the world since the early days of 2020.

This week, the hope was that the Trojans and Lady Trojans could get back to life as usual, but even that is always a crap shoot.

According to Cedar Catholic athletic director Chad Cattau, the Dec. 3 girls opener against Crofton was moved to a Dec. 15 boy/girl doublebill on the road.

The Boone Central doubleheader set for this past Friday, has been set for Jan. 15 at Cedar Catholic.

To say this is the end of the craziness may be talking too soon.

“Our school has been hit pretty hard with COVID in the past two weeks,” Cattau said before the twoweek quarantine ended. “Our entire senior class has been quarantined and also their siblings, so we have lost a large number of students from our winter sports teams. We will be able to get these quarantined students back (Dec. 7) so that will help our numbers going forward. This should help us with our depth on our teams as they are still preparing for their first games.”

After being shelved since Nov. 23, both the boys and girls basketball teams will get four practices with their full teams back before they play Friday night against O’Neill.

“That should really help their cohesiveness for their games,” Cattau said. “Our wrestlers have also been affected because they lost a couple athletes as well because of the quarantine. I am hoping that beginning next week, we will be able to get back into a “normal” routine and have a majority of our students back.”

Cattau said students, staff and coaches have worked well together to get through this.

“I believe our coaches have done a great job of adjusting their practices and routines after losing the kids they lost.”

Girls coach Craig Wortmann is ready for a steady stream of games when in all likelihood the closest his older players came to a competitive basketball game for 14 days was watching ESPN.

“I have been very happy with progress, but I am looking forward to the weeks ahead,” Wortmann said. “We will get a good idea how we are doing and what we are.”

It made for a tough stretch without some key players, Wortmann said.

“Our team had a tough week with our seniors out, but we got good quality time with our younger players. We have worked hard on fundamentals and technique,” he said.

Cattau has been pleased with the efforts of his coaches during these crazy two weeks.

“I know they weren’t prepared for this, but everyone has been flexible, and they have taken the approach that this will help give some other athletes some reps they may not have gotten,” Cattau said. “Hopefully this will create a positive long-term effect on each of the teams.

Being able to quickly adapt to change will be a real asset this year, Cattau said.

“As we move forward, everyone needs to be able to adjust and be ready for any unforeseen circumstances as they come up,” he said. “It seems that each and every day there are new things that come up around the state so we all need to just appreciate the opportunities that we will get to compete. I know we can’t control a lot of what happens as we progress through winter, but hopefully the worst is now behind us and we can move forward and be able to play our schedules without losing any competitions.”

Cedar Catholic senior Mack Kuehn has had plenty of time to sit and think about things as the quarantine finally made its way into finality.

“It’s been around, and we were avoiding it during football, then football gets over and it just kind of exploded in a way,” Kuehn said. “It took away all of our conditioning and stuff and we have to come back like nothing has happened. But it takes a toll. I thought it might happen, but I was hoping and praying it wouldn’t. I was thinking we could slip by without it ever really affecting us, but then we got the news that we got the lockdown.”

Kuehn said he’s been able to shoot around on some private courts here and there.

“I guess I could keep my shot form, but I couldn’t really keep my conditioning, but I know other people did on their own,” he said. “You would think this would set us back and get us down on ourselves, but we are taking this to heart and want to show we can beat this kind of stuff and get through it.

“I think we are still a very solid team and we have really good chemistry.”

Senior Megan Heimes knew the threat always loomed.

Heimes assumes it’s better it happened now than later in the season.

“We didn’t expect it and we knew we got through football and volleyball and still wearing masks,” Heimes said. “We always kind of thought we could get it since other people were getting it. Even if it did happen to us, we knew we could push through and figure it out. It was definitely a learning experience.”

Heimes said a few teammates came up positive, but were doing fine. She was one that was in quarantine due to having come in contact.

She made the most of it while stuck at home.

“We tried to run three miles each day and each mile to be nine minutes or under,” she said. “That still helped us with staying in shape and so when we got back knowing we would have to be in shape.”

The team all did their own workouts, she said.

“We were all doing that at home and everyone else was working hard in practice. I think the running really helped. We aren’t at our prime, but we still have some work before our first game. We Just haven’t been in the gym a lot so we will have to get more reps in shooting wise and play with each other to see how things go. We are pretty used to each other so we should be fine.”

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