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Schools await spring sports fate


March 27, 2020

For now, high school sports and other activities in Minnesota are in a holding pattern. The Minnesota State High School League first shut down all spring sports March 13 through today and now will extend the period to coincide with the order for schools to remain closed to at least May 4. It all in response to the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

The MSHSL said a decision on canceling the season hasn't been made.

"Right now there really isn't much our coaches can do until we know what is going on," said Barnum activities director Dave Duesler. "With us being on spring break last week and still snow on the ground, we weren't planning on getting started with the spring sports season until this week anyway."

In an average spring, most northern Minnesota sports teams are not able to hit the field until at least the first week of April - so at this point games have not been affected. If and when the suspension of games comes to an end, it would still be some time before games could be played.

"I believe that track kids would be able to get up to speed pretty quickly," said Cromwell-Wright AD Dave Foster. "At least the kids who are working out on their own during this break would be ready to go, but baseball and softball athletes will have a harder time getting up to speed. There are many moving parts to their skills and team concepts that will be hard to do while the kids are out there on their own."

Cloquet AD Paul Riess echoed Foster. "For us, softball and track had only been practicing a week and baseball, tennis and golf had not started yet," he said. "Plus, we were on spring break this week, so most of our teams did not have a lot of stuff planned. We did not get outside until around April 10 the last couple of years."

One of the most difficult things for local ADs is the fact that they have no say in what is transpiring.

"The MSHSL will continue to monitor the most current information and directives from the Minnesota Department of Health; the governor of Minnesota and the CDC and make adjustments as needed," said Esko's Chad Stoskopf.

The frustrations are obvious. "These are unprecedented times and it calls for extreme measures," said Wrenshall AD Jeremy Zywicki. "I've talked to a few of our seniors and the emotions range from sadness to anger and frustration about not having the opportunity to finish their athletic seasons."

"Life is fragile and we are seeing that now more than ever," he said. "Everyone has to do their part if we're going to get through this. As an athletic director, I would much rather be trying to find a makeup date for our first game right now than hoping and praying this doesn't carry on through the summer and into the fall."

"As an AD, you are usually having to deal with rain-outs and cancellations and the like and spring is a hectic time, even on a good year," said South Ridge AD Tony DeLeon. "Although it is a hectic time, I still feel a tremendous sadness for our seniors and the players, not only in athletics, but all of our school activities."


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