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home : sports : sports
June 2, 2020

3/19/2020 2:34:00 PM
Coronavirus fears have varsity sports bracing for anything, including lost seasons
MSHSL suspends practices until March 27 and games until April 6

As the coronavirus pandemic has moved throughout the world, more and more restrictions have been put into place.

The restrictions have trickled all the way down to the Minnesota State High School League, which last week cancelled the last of the winter sports state tournaments and put a hold on the spring sports season.
Their release read:

Consistent with Emergency Executive Order 20-02 issued on March 15, 2020, by Governor Walz the Minnesota State High School League has updated information on activity participation limitations.

Effective from Wednesday, March 18, 2020 through Friday, March 27, 2020:
• There will be no MSHSL activities and athletics at any member school.

• This includes all participation including, but not limited to training, practices, scrimmages, and contests.

• The previous MSHSL directive prohibiting scrimmages, contests and competitions with other MSHSL programs for Spring activities and athletics wil continue until April 6, 2020.

As COVID-19 is rapidly evolving, the MSHSL will continue to monitor the most current information and directives from the Minnesota Department of Health, the Governor of Minnesota, and the Centers for Disease Control. The MSHSL will continue to work within the intent and support of the Emergency Executive Order and Department of Health recommendations in its actions and decisions.

Additional information will be provided as it becomes available and as decisions are made.

Essentially, the release states that teams cannot practice together until Friday, March 27 and cannot hold scrimmages or games against other schools until April 6.

Many spring sports had already started at the time of the cancellations with the remainder of them scheduled to start Monday, March 16.
The NCAA has already taken the step to cancel ALL remaining spring sports, and some local coaches are worried that decision may spill over to high school athletics.

The Press reached out to local spring sport coaches to get their thoughts on the delay, the season and plans going forward. Responses varied, but the one constant was uncertainty, as these are uncharted waters the public is in.

North Branch Activities Director Matt Lattimore
Right now we're following the recommendations of  MSHSL and canceling all practices until March 30.

As for my predictions on whether we have spring sports.  I'm being optimistic that we will,  however with all the info coming out its going to be tough.

Chisago Lakes Activities Director Jodi Otte
This is crazy! As of now, we just know no practices until March 27 and no events/games/contests until April 6.

Chisago Lakes Softball Coach Brenda Carlson
I think the real question is "Are we going to have a season?"  

I think if we are able to go back to school at the end of March, we just need to get the teams formed.  With the kids playing in the winter and involved with hitting and pitching lessons, I am not too concerned with them being ready.  I think the early part of the season would be interesting, but by end of April/May things would be back to normal.  

Now if we are not back in school by April, then I am not sure we will even have a season which I really hope doesn't happen.  

Spring sport athletes are usually pretty resilient  because our seasons traditionally are always fluid or changing because of weather.  I remember a few years back were we pretty much played our entire season in May, I would take that over a cancelled season.

The people I feel the worst for are the seniors, because it is a year they really look forward to and it is a time they can enjoy being the leaders of the team and put their mark on the program.

North Branch Softball Coach Kathy Crudo
I guess right now I don’t think it is really a question of how it is going to affect the softball season since it has already started. About a week ago I started getting messages from my players and their concerns and questions regarding the season.

Obviously with how the whole coronavirus is going it has been a “wait and see” situation and I think that is what has made it so frustrating for everyone (not just sports).

I know our girls are extremely hungry. Many of our softball girls, despite having the option of going to school today or not, came in hopes that they would also get to practice on Monday, March 16.

I think our girls as young adults are realistically optimistic to the chance that we might still get a condensed schedule this year. This year’s seniors have been along since the start of the rebuilding culture of North Branch High School softball and regardless of what does or doesn’t happen this year I’m proud of them for the way they have thus far handled the roller coaster of events and the time and dedication they have put into the program.

Our captains, Macy Brodin and Kristi Pilz, have been amazing leaders and their passion for the game itself is something you don’t get out of every athlete so you just hope they get to see some sort of season through.

Their leadership and the whole senior class has shown just today having almost all of their teammates come to school today willing and wanting to work beside them for another ride in whatever capacity that is.

Chisago Lakes Boys Golf Coach Bryon Rogers
We usually struggle to get any high quality practice in this early in the season. Whether it’s putting in my room, chipping on an open field, or finding domes/simulators to swing in, no practice is as quality as actually being on the course. That being said, missing these two weeks definitely puts us a little behind on trying to shake off some of the dust, teaching rules and etiquette to our younger players, and team building exercises. We definitely have work to do to expedite these activities when we return.

That being said, my biggest fear is the current hiatus has the potential of running past the April 6 date the MSHSL has set for us to begin competition. We have a lot of players who have worked really hard to compete this year, and I just hope society rebounds well enough for the boys to get the chance to compete.

Chisago Lakes Boys Tennis Coach Jim Gillach
I wish I knew how this was going to work.  I could guess but that is all it would be.

I do know ALL practices are now cancelled until March 27.  Also no competitions or scrimmages until April 6 at the earliest and it continues to change all the time.

North Branch Boys Tennis Coach Joel Santjer
Absolutely crazy times. I keep on going back to three or four seasons ago when we had snow cancellations until May and we still got most of the season in. I'm hopeful that's the way we'll go this year.

Everything is just so much up in the air right now, but we're preparing for the season to get started at some point. Hopefully we get to play.

Chisago Lakes Baseball Coach Jay Brown
Being involved with high school baseball in Minnesota requires built-in resilience. That will certainly be tested as we move forward. We always have a contingency plan for bad weather, poor field conditions, etc, but there is no playbook for this.

We’re just in ‘wait and see’ mode. I hope for the players (especially the seniors) that this doesn’t end the way spring sports did for the NCAA, but that could be a possibility. Until we hear more from the MSHSL, we’ll continue to prepare for a season that will begin in 2 weeks. If we need to be creative in how the season is restructured, we can do it!

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