By Katie Nielsen

MORAGA (KPIX) — An East Bay man is recovering Friday night after a coyote attacked him during a morning workout with a group of friends. It happened on the football field at Campolindo High School in Moraga on Friday just before 6:30 a.m.

The man attacked, Kenji Sytz, says that, ever since the start of the pandemic, he and his friends meet at the field to do a cross-fit-style workout.

Friday morning, Sutz said he was just wrapping up his exercises when he got on the ground near the 20-yard line to do push-ups. He says he suddenly felt a sharp pain in his leg and was shocked when he saw what caused it.

“There was literally a coyote latched on to my left calf,” Sytz said. He was still wearing his hospital ID bracelet as he spoke to KPIX. He says he’s still trying to make sense of the morning attack.

“I’m working out and all I can think is, like, I have two friends with me! Is one of them — ‘Did someone do something to my leg?’ Because it first felt like a pinch but then it was a sharp pain,” Sytz said.

Moraga coyote attack victim Kenji Sytz (credit: Kenji Sytz)

He said he had to hit the coyote in the face before it let go of his leg. The attack left him with a few cuts and two large puncture wounds on his calf. He was treated at Kaiser hospital in Walnut Creek and released.

Other people who work out at Campolindo High School say they know there are coyotes in the area but haven’t worried about being attacked.

“We see coyotes now and then and usually they just stay away from us,” said Jenny Heidersboch, who lives near the high school and often walks on the track.

This isn’t the first time a coyote attacked someone in Moraga. In July, a small child was bitten at Moraga Commons Park, about two miles from Campolindo High.

“Fish and Game asked for my workout pants and, apparently, they’re going to try to assess the DNA from the attack today and compare that to (previous attack) and see if it’s the same coyote,” Sytz said. He thinks the coyote came after him — not one of his friends — because he was on the ground doing push-ups.

“It thought I was vulnerable and, yeah, it just went after my leg. Add getting bit by a coyote to the 2020 punch card of bad things to happen,” he said.

Kenji says while his leg was still throbbing Friday night, the worst part of the ordeal will be the rabies shots he must receive over the next two weeks. He said that, despite all that, he still plans to return to the field with his friends as soon as he’s able.

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In another incident, officers saw a coyote walking through the Rheem Center parking lot, where one person tried to feed it near the Starbucks, police said.

Police officials are reminding people to never try to feed a coyote and, if you are being followed by one, make loud noises. If this fails, people are advised to throw rocks or other things in the animal’s direction.

Also, people should remain aware of their surroundings when outside and keep small children and pets close.

More information about how to avoid coyote conflicts can be found at: keepmewild.org.

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