Another school year is upon us, which means athletics at Portage Collegiate are up and running once again.

Athletic director Jo-Anne Clark-Gillespie says football is in full swing, cross country and golf are already practicing, and volleyball and hockey are in the tryout phase. 

She notes they are still looking for a varsity boys volleyball coach from the community but have the other teams ready to get on the court.

Clark-Gillespie adds it's great for the kids to be able to jump right into athletics with no restrictions.

"I'm so happy that our student-athletes are going to have an opportunity to participate in the things that they love and that they enjoy doing. It's been really nice not having all those unknowns like we did last year, not knowing if we were going to start or if we were going to get shut down," Clark-Gillespie explains. "It's really nice knowing that, hopefully, we're looking at an entire school year again of no interruptions, and we can just get back to this important part of our students' lives."

The athletic director also doubles as the head coach for the PCI Saints hockey team and says it's always amazing to return to Stride Place.

"I always can't wait to get back on the ice in September, and I know a majority of the girls feel the same way. It does seem like it was just yesterday that the season ended last year. It is a quick turnaround, but we had a great turnout for skaters on Monday night. I'm so impressed with the number of girls interested and want to play."

While it's always great for the students to have athletics available as soon as the school year starts, Clark-Gillespie notes it can be tough on the organizers.

"It's great to get that early start, but it is a struggle to get the information to all of the possible students who want to take part in these things. As someone who is organizing different sports, it'd be nice to have a couple of weeks to get our feet under us in the school year. It is what it is though, and social media has been great. We have Twitter and Instagram pages with all of our announcements."

Clark-Gillespie says saintstrojansathletics is the new Instagram page that will have all the information on PCI sports going forward. The head of athletics thanks everyone involved in making high school sports possible in Portage.

"I want to give a shout out to all of our volunteers, whether they be teaching staff, educational assistants, or community volunteers that fill coaching roles that are needed. It's a big sacrifice, it is a big commitment, and it's done by 100 percent volunteers. I want to recognize all the time and sacrifices these people are making because it's important to them and it's important to the students. They want to build relationships with the students, and they want to see these kids succeed," Clark-Gillespie continues. "It's really nice to see people giving up their own time to help our kids be better people."