Magdalena Municipal School District John Larson |El Defensor Chieftain

It’s been a little more than two weeks since the New Mexico Activities Association released COVID-19 appropriate guidelines regarding high school athletics opening up for summer workouts.

Magdalena Athletic Director Jory Mirabal and staff seemed to have had a plan in place in well before that, but said being a smaller school than a Socorro makes the situation a little bit different.

“When you have 400 students versus 90 students what you’re doing within the NMAA guidelines is going to look drastically different,” Mirabal said. “We met probably two or three weeks ago before anything even started realizing that we needed to have something in place. We decided early on that it would be more beneficial to Magdalena if we worked as a team and not spread out the kids, and basically just get the kids back at the school doing stuff.”

Mirabal said last week that he had a staff of nine coaches working with 15 kids, so they were able to stay in pods, social distance and take the appropriate safety measures. In addition, instead of separating teams by program he and his staff are working with all kids across all sports in one group.

“It just kind of creates that sense of solidarity. You have volleyball coaches out there working with football players and vice versa, just trying to get kids back into shape,” Mirabal said. “So we set up different circuits working on some conditioning, some core strength, some plyo, and some circuit training in the weight room. We were able to cycle those kids through in about an hour. And like I said, just trying to create that sense of team spirit; school spirt.”

Mirabal said the school, much like the rest of the state is sticking within the parameters it’s been given to simply get something done for the kids.

“I think the biggest thing right now is just getting kids an outlet to social activity. I know that “social” is a bad word nowadays, but it’s a big deal when you’re 14, 15, 16 years old,” he said. “So even with the rules in place we felt like just from a mental and social aspect it was im0ortant to get back to doing something. That’s kind of our focus.”

NOTE: The Steers are currently without a football coach which perhaps makes the decision to practice as a school across all programs an easier one.

Mirabal said the school does have an application right now. He and staff have met to discuss the individual applicant, but said it’s difficult because there’s not a lot of movement.

“People are feeling pretty comfortable just sitting put where they are, trying to wait this deal out and see where it takes us,” he said. “So I don’t foresee a big list of candidates. So that kind of puts in in a tough spot … not that you can’t find the right guy when there’s one candidate.”

Magdalena is a place that has to find the right individual candidate for the kids in the program.

“That’s important especially in that program with the turnover they’ve had and some of the stuff that they’ve gone through,” Mirabal said. “That’s going to be an important aspect for us.”

Mirabal said there’s no contingency in place for August because they will find the right candidate for the job.