The Michigan High School Athletic Association announced on Friday that winter sports will begin on time, which is good news for athletes and coaches in the area.
“It’s definitely exciting for all the teams in the county,” said Onsted women’s basketball coach Brandon Arnold. “I am particularly excited for our three seniors (Emma Reidy, Kayla Ross and Mya Hiram) as they will have the chance to play their final season as Lady Wildcat.”
The MHSAA Representative Council has approved a set of guidelines that sports must follow to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Sport-specific guidelines will be released next week addressing competition limits, spectator limits, and the use of face liners.
MHSAA Executive Director Mark Uyl said one of the reasons the MHSAA felt strongly in favor of winter sports was to keep student-athletes involved in school-sponsored athletics.
“The council believes it is safe to start winter practices on time and keep athletes in school programs where safety precautions are always in place,” Uyl said. “With the very different circumstances faced by schools in different regions across the state, a punctual start still allows schools to decide when they feel most comfortable starting the business and allows all of them to slowly increase their attendance. and the number of spectators attending the races “.
Uyl stressed, however, that everyone must take all necessary precautions to continue practicing winter sports.
“But let’s be clear: Our statewide COVID-19 numbers need to improve,” he said. “In order for our schools to continue playing sports this winter and for the fans to be there to cheer for them, we must continue to work to slow this virus down.”
Among the precautions that will be put in place by the MHSAA are the absence of scrimmages and limits on the number of teams that will be admitted to regular season competitions for sports such as competitive cheering, gymnastics, swimming and diving and wrestling. Bowling, for example, will have a limit of 72 participants for each event. No such restrictions will apply to basketball or hockey at this point.
The representative council has adopted a limit of two spectators per participant in all races to start the regular winter sports season with the caveat that the guideline could be reconsidered by the council later in the season if things are going well.
The face cover must be worn by athletes who practice and compete in basketball, cheerleading, ice hockey and wrestling, but will not be required for athletes who practice and compete in bowling, gymnastics, swimming and diving. Face covers will be required for athletes in those sports when they are not involved in active participation, such as being on the sidelines or on the bench.
The Clinton wrestling team will look to defend its Division 4 state championship last season. The fact that training can begin on November 16th and competition on December 9th is good news for coach Jeff Rolland.
“I’m super excited and happy to be able to start on time,” Rolland said. “I know the US is having a normal season, so I was hoping we would follow that. There are some changes to the number of games, but we can compete and we are grateful for this opportunity. “
Last season’s winter sports season was halted, although competitive cheering and wrestling were able to complete their seasons. The men’s basketball season ended the night before the district basketball finals, while the women’s basketball season reached the regional finals when the season was suspended and ultimately canceled.