A roar of the crowd could be heard on the Serra campus over the weekend, as Padre athletic competitions made a safe return after a year off due to the pandemic.
Athletics commenced with a cross country meet at Golden Gate Fields at noon Friday, a varsity football scrimmage against Bellarmine College Preparatory at home on Friday afternoon and two football scrimmages at home on Saturday for junior varsity and the freshman team. Water polo also made a comeback with games on March 10 against Sacred Heart Preparatory and March 13 against Saint Francis.
"It was so exciting to see teams competing on campus this weekend," said Athletic Director Justin Ferdinand. "The comradery, sense of purpose, and passion added such energy to the school," he said.
With 77 student-athletes on the freshman team roster, Coach Ken Peralta said he couldn't be happier to be back in the game.
"To me it is a real blessing -- it is so great to have the opportunity to work with 77 kids and 77 good attitudes," he said.
Athletics during a pandemic have been tricky, as safety protocols have to be strictly adhered to.
"We are cautious but optimistic -- we are very conscientious of all of the safety rules and our kids know they can't stand around eachother for more than 12 minutes at a time," he said.
Spectators, which are limited to two tickets per student-athlete, must sit socially distanced in the stands, with taped sections to indicate safe spacing.
"The participants and spectators from Bellarmine and St. Francis complied with our COVID policies and protocols, which allowed the health and safety to be at the forefront of the experience," Ferdinand said with gratitude.
The sound of the whistle and cheering of the crowds was a welcome experience for the Serra community.