FAYETTE HIGH SCHOOL
By: Nate Calvin
“For the remainder of this school year, our young people will continue to go to school remotely.” With those words Monday afternoon from Ohio Governor Mike DeWine not only were school buildings deemed closed for the rest of the academic year, but it is also signified the end of the 2020 spring sports season due to COVID-19.
The spring sports season along with the winter sports postseasons were suspended on March 13th to coincide with the closure of schools across the state with April 6th as a possible date to resume.
With April 6th approaching it was clear that schools wouldn’t be able to open on that date which was then moved to May 1st and the remainder of the winter sports postseason was cancelled.
The OHSAA put together a tentative spring sports schedule with the hopes of returning on May 1st but with that schedule it was stated that if schools were to close for the rest of the school year then the spring sports season would be cancelled.
“As we have stated in our previous communications, today’s announcement by Governor DeWine to close schools for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year also will now result in the cancellation of OHSAA-sponsored spring sports seasons including tournaments,” OHSAA Executive Director Jerry Snodgrass wrote Monday.
In an interview Monday afternoon, Snodgrass reflected on the unprecedented times that the pandemic has brought to the nation and the impact it has had on schools and interscholastic athletics.
“I’ve heard from so many people who have said ‘You really need to understand what this means to our kids,’” Snodgrass said during the interview. “I’m a parent. I was a coach. I grew up every day as a player and a coach wanting to play high school sports and get to the state tournament. So, I do think I understand that.”
“I also have to go with the fact that my number one concern that I have, over everything, is the health and safety of everyone involved. It’s not just our student-athletes. It’s the parents, coaches, umpires, officials, the scorekeepers. All those things enter into this.”
“It’s a tough decision and it’s one that I and all the other Executive Directors of the other states never thought we would have to do. Never did I think this would be the case, but I’ve tried to be as prepared as I could every step of the way.”
Snodgrass also addressed the summer and start of fall sports in the interview.
“July is a very physical month for our student-athletes entering fall sports, so we have already started looking at, if this continues through the summer, we’ll have the potential of having a lot of kids who haven’t had the physical activity that they would normally have going into a fall season.”
“So, for the health and safety of everyone, we have to look at the acclimation periods going into the fall, if that happens. We have to be prepared for that. We’re also talking about that, if this does go through the summer, what is the likelihood that a student can get in to get a physical (annual medical exam).”
“We have a sport medicine advisory group that is looking at that. They are looking at all aspects such as whether artificial surfaces need to be treated. We are relying on the advice of experts in our decision making”, concluded Snodgrass.
Wauseon Athletic Director Matt Hutchinson posted the following message on Twitter after the announcement: “Today’s decision to cancel the spring sports seasons by the OHSAA is the correct action at this time given the unprecedented circumstances due to the spread of COVID-19. The health and safety of the Wauseon family needs to be our priority.”
“I empathize with the student-athletes and coaches who have seen their seasons come to an abrupt end before they even started. I particularly feel for the 26 spring sports athletes in the Class of 2020 as their athletic careers have unexpectedly come to a close. Take care of yourselves and each other during this uncertain time”, he added.
“The decision by our Governor and the OHSAA was made to keep everyone safe and healthy. This is difficult for our student-athletes and coaches, however this was the best option during this health crisis”, commented Bryan Athletic Director Chad Savage.
“We have an incredible Senior Class 2020 here at Bryan High School. Their impact in the classroom, in our community, and in the athletic arena has been amazing. They have elevated the expectations for future classes that represent our community.”
“Although this has been a very frustrating experience for our student-athletes and coaches, we will grow from this adversity and strive to become even better people”, concluded Savage.
Monday night communities throughout Northwest Ohio took part in “Light Up The Night” to support the Class of 2020. Schools lit up their football stadiums, baseball fields, softball fields and residents were asked to turn on their porch light for twenty minutes beginning at 8:20pm (20:20 in military time) to show their support for the Class of 2020.
Without a doubt this class will go down in history at each school as the most remembered group of seniors in recent memory. They will be remembered not only for their accomplishments academically and athletically but also for what they’ve had to endure during this health pandemic.
Nate can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
HARMON FIELD (WAUSEON)
GOLDEN BEAR STADIUM (BRYAN)
Front Row: Shane Zulch, Alea Brandt, Christopher Farris, and Melody Nofziger. Back Row: Tatum Schaffter, Keagen Romine, Claire Radabaugh, Brooklyn Morris, Mallory Trausch, Alex Jacoby, and Kayla Kurtz. (EDON)
HOBIE KROUSE FIELD (MONTPELIER)
MOORE PARK (BRYAN)