Back in action! After lost spring season, Bear & Zephyr fall teams ready to play

White Bear Lake soccer players (from left) sophomore Ryan Dufrense, senior Justin Wussler and junior Snow Ball chased the ball during practice last week.

White Bear Lake and Mahtomedi will resume high school athletic competitions this week for the first time since early March.

Prep sports have been absent since the COVID-19 pandemic caused cancelation of the remaining basketball tournaments and the entire spring sports season.

“We are fortunate to be playing, and hope to complete the season,” said John Dierkhising, co-head coach of Bear girls soccer. 

“There are a lot more protocols this year to be aware of,” Dierkhising noted, mentioning no Wednesday team dinners, no big all-team program kickoff potluck, and the Bears being on the home sideline for the first time with visiting team and fans on the other side.

“But when we start practice and cross the lines we feel some normalcy so that has been good for everyone.” 

On Thursday, the Bears will host a soccer double header against Cretin-Derham Hall with the boys starting at 5 p.m. and the girls at 7:30 p.m.  Also Thursday, the girls swim team will open at Irondale at 5:30 p.m. 

Boys and girls cross country will open Saturday at Roseville Area, 11:10 p.m. Meets will be limited to three teams.

The Zephyr girls tennis team opened Tuesday hosting South St. Paul. The soccer teams will open with a double header Thursday at Simley with girls at 5 p.m. and boys at 7 p.m.

The Zephyr swimmers will open against Hill-Murray on Sept. 3 at Maplewood Middle School. Cross country will open at Hastings on Sept. 10. Meets will be limited to three teams.

A limited number of fans will be allowed. Under state pandemic rules, outdoor events can have as many as 250 people in attendance as long as they are socially distanced.

Football and volleyball, regarded as the most risky during the pandemic, have been moved to sprint, scheduled to start in late March.

— Bruce Strand

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