Athletics Take A Hiatus

Spring Sports On Hold, Winter Championships Cancelled

The Virginia High School League announced on Friday that spring sports practices and competitions would be put on hold for two weeks due to the coronavirus outbreak, with the start of the regular season moved from Monday, March 16, to Monday, March 30. The Crisis Management Committee will meet again Wednesday, March 25, to re-evaluate current conditions.

Spring sports consist of baseball, softball, soccer, lacrosse, tennis, and track and field. Any game not played due to this delay, or a school division not being allowed to travel, will not count as a forfeit.

In a statement sent out on Saturday, Dr. John Haun, the VHSL executive director, said, “At this point, the entire spring sport season has not been canceled. Everyone clearly understands the dedication and commitment thousands of parents, coaches and student-athletes have made preparing for this season. I am sure college and professional athletes feel the same way, as their seasons have been suspended or canceled. In two weeks, state leaders will evaluate the situation and provide direction for our schools — including the spring sport season.”

The decision came after the cancellation of state basketball championships that were scheduled to take place on Thursday through Saturday in Richmond.

In addition to the two local high schools, Rockbridge County and Parry McCluer, the three local colleges all suspended their sports seasons.

Southern Virginia University suspended all varsity athletics teams, contests, practices, and activities for the 2020 athletics season, effective Monday.

All Washington and Lee University athletic events have been canceled until April 18, with the situation to be monitored and re-evaluated. Other cancellations included last weekend’s NCAA Division III wrestling and indoor track and field national championships, as well as March 18-21 national swimming championships that W&L athletes were scheduled to compete in. W&L had three wrestlers who had qualified for the national championship, which was scheduled to take place last Friday and Saturday in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, before its cancellation: seniors Rexx Hallyburton (184 pounds) and Shane Conners (165) and sophomore Ryan Luth (157). One SVU wrestler, junior Nico Ramirez (285) had also qualified for the national championship.

For the W&L men’s indoor track and field team, sophomore Joe O’Connor was scheduled to compete in the national meet last Friday in Winston-Salem, N.C. before its cancellation.

The Southern Conference, of which Virginia Military Institute is a member for most sports, has suspended athletic competition through March 30. The SoCon will closely monitor the situation, as well as national, state and local policies regarding the coronavirus, and re-evaluate the potential for resumption of competition. The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference has canceled all spring sports, which includes water polo for VMI.

The SOAR Dunk Team of Lynchburg was scheduled take take part in an event sponsored by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes on Sunday night at Maury River Middle School, but that event was postponed to a yet-to-bedetermined date in September.

The Rockbridge Area Recreation Organization canceled its baseball and softball clinics scheduled for last Saturday. Visit www.rarorec.org to find out about other RARO events.

The News-Gazette

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