Reopening New Jersey: NJ high school athletes prepare for fall sports season amid COVID-19 pandemic

CLIFTON, New Jersey (WABC) -- With outdoor fall sports starting their seasons in less than a month, athletes have been given the green light for conditioning, strength, skills training and drills.

At Clifton High School, high school athletes are glad to be back on the field.

"They are all in," boys head soccer coach Stan Lembryk said. "And it has been a positive safe environment for the past six weeks of training."

Every piece of workout equipment is frequently sanitized.

The students playing fall sports are energized, especially for those who didn't know if they would have a chance to play again.

"It's very important, especially for myself as a senior preparing to go into college to have another strong senior year performance to help my chance of being recruited by other colleges," senior goalkeeper Gabriel Maksymiw said. "Massively important."

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Senior Brianna Delcruz on the girls' soccer team said she has emailed colleges.

"They can't come out to see me if there's no season, so this is important to me," Delcruz said.

Last year, the boys soccer team went 22-0, winning the state championship and determined to repeat while staying safe.

"It's tough to try to train at the level you're use to with the new regulations," Assistant boys soccer coach Marlin Flores said. "But the boys are definitely persevering and they're successful right now."

Their season kicks off in October, as long as there are no COVID-19 flare-ups.

Senior Mia Duvac is anxious for her cross country season to start.

"I'm glad I'm back with my teammates for their motivation as well as mine," Duvac said.

Clifton has protocols in place to try and keep sports COVID-free.

"We take all precautions," athletic director Tom Mullahey said. "There's a form they fill out every day. They get their temperature taken every day and working in small groups in each phase."

They're in phase three -- meaning training gets bigger and more intense -- but they are reminded about their responsibilities every day.

"This year. in particular. is so massively important that you take care of yourself and be healthy for you, your family and of course your team," Lembryk said.

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