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Blue Streaks' 'Long Distance' plan

Manheim Township has started voluntary workouts, despite having their athletic director more than 1,800 miles away.

MANHEIM, Pa. — Across the board, Manheim Township athletics hopes they have a lot to play for this fall.

“Coach Evans and Coach Johns said the kids were excited to be back,” said new Blue Streaks Athletic Director Jason Strunk.

The Northampton native has coached high school football in Florida and most recently Texas, with a stint in the college ranks at Purdue in-between.  The connections he's built along the way have helped him get feedback to be prepared more than a month before the guidelines were handed down to the PIAA.

“I’ve been talking to my friends to see what they're doing and getting new ideas and making them fit our district.  Once I put the first draft in, everyone got their eyes on it.  It was a team effort building that from there,” recalled Strunk.

That approach led Manheim Township to being one of the first schools from the mid-state to start up voluntary workouts.

“We have 25 people in the weight room at one time.  Then they rotate out to the turf field,” said Strunk.  “We created the exit and entry plan so they miss each other, they come in, the things are wiped down, and they're cleaned.  Out on the field, you're spread out across the turf.”

And speaking of distancing, this feat of returning to the field is even more impressive when you consider that Strunk isn't in Lancaster County, the state, or in the time zone.  All of this was accomplished from his kitchen island in South Padre Island, Texas.

“I’m working for a school 1,500 miles away, so that’s allowed me to literally just sit here at my kitchen island and work, which has been weird.”  

You've heard the old saying that if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.  Strunk can not only handle the kitchen, but it's his office until the pandemic will let him and his family return to the Keystone state.

“And this is where communication is so important.   This is what's recommended, here's what I’m thinking.  Tell me how we can fit this for us.  They’ll come right back and say we can do this.  We can go through entry door, C-24, and they’d exit through C-23, so it’s constant collaboration.”