NMAA says high school sports are running smooth overall

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — High school sports have been back for several weeks already. While there have been some COVID cases and other complications, NMAA officials said they’re pleased with how things are going.

"It’s been quite interesting, quite challenging,” said Sally Marquez, executive director of the New Mexico Activities Association.

Marquez said the challenge of putting 13 sports in a four-month period has been difficult, but rewarding.

"We’re just excited we’re competing,” she said.

Referee shortages, transportation issues, and COVID cases have all been obstacles they’ve had to navigate.

"Throughout the state, just like I said, we have 160 schools, so it’s inevitable that it is going to happen,” Marquez said. “We’ve had a very minimal amount of schools that this has had happened with—volleyball, soccer and football. And I would say combined, we probably have eight schools that this has effected, but when you look at the massive amount of teams, not only including varsity, JV, middle school— we are doing very well when it comes to our COVID safe practice guideline and making sure kids are safe."

Marquez said they’re doing everything they can to postpone games instead of cancelling them, however that’s tough to do with football when teams only play one game a week.

While high school football will not have time for a state tournament, NMAA is adding an extra game they’re equating to a bowl game.

"We wanted to make sure we maximize football in the participation of kids,” Marquez said.

Marquez also said it’s important that people keep trying to improve the COVID situation.

"Right now, I think a lot of people are very satisfied we’re yellow and they can go see a football game, or a soccer game, but all of our parents in the yellow counties have not been able to see a volleyball game,” Marquez said. “So, it is very important that we social distance, we mask-wear, we do everything that we can to turn the counties green, because basketball is right around the corner. And so, if we want spectators in those gyms, we need to make sure we follow COVID- safe practices."