HELENA -- High school winter sports are back as basketball players, swimmers and wrestlers officially met with their teams for the first time this season on Monday, Dec. 7.
Though this year is certainly not normal, noted Helena High head wrestling coach Sam Bogard, the first week is still going to present a learning curve.
"I'm learning, too, right now, especially with the new wrestlers that I have coming in," said Bogard. "It's going to be a learning process this week."
With programs having to don masks, split practices into separate pods, plus the later start date, this year is anything but normal, but it’s not all bad according to Bogard.
“We've usually already done one tournament, and now we're just starting to practice. So, we're a ways behind," said Bogard. "We've been able to do open mats for a few weeks, so we've been able to get into a little bit of wrestling shape.”
Over at Helena Capital, it’s nearly the same with practices split into two separate pods, but to Bruins head coach Jeff Mahana, it's just another obstacle to conquer.
“Based on the number of kids we have, we have to run split practices. And so, trying to find partners for skill level and weight, you know, sometimes is a challenge," said Mahana. "We're kind of working on the logistical things right now. We've been working on it for quite some time, though, so we feel good that we'll be able to put a good product out there at the end.”
For now, the two squads will grind it out for nearly a month before they meet one another to open the season on Tuesday, Jan. 5.