MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The dominoes continue to fall Friday in response to the COVID-19 virus pandemic with the suspension of West Virginia high school spring sports through April 10, according to State Superintendent of Schools W. Clayton Burch.
This includes games, scrimmages, practices, weight-lifting, meetings and all other after-school activities.
The WVSSAC state basketball tournaments and Class AA boys’ regionals, which were suspended Thursday, are also affected. Remaining teams, including the University High boys and girls, were allowed to practice in small groups, but are now put on hold until April 10.
The WVSSAC sanctioned spring sports affected are baseball, softball, track and field and tennis. Boys’ and girls’ lacrosse are not a part of the WVSSAC, rather the West Virginia Scholastic Lacrosse Association, but they are included in the decision.
The situation remains fluid and will be reevaluated through April 10.
“I am happy for the guidance and the communication from the athletic director at UHS (Jeff Bailey),” Hawks tennis coach Tom McClellan said. “I’m sad the season is delayed, but I’m hopeful we can still have a shortened season. Everyone should remain calm and friendly to another, but from a distance.”
“We always speak to our athletes about adversity and their response to it,” MHS track coach Steve Blinco said. “This is adversity that we are all facing and the way that we — that they — respond to it will tell us a lot about their character. We will continue to prepare to the best of our abilities for a season that may or may not come. All we can do now is prepare, wait and pray that all of our athletes, families and communities make it through this very trying and difficult time.”
“Heartbroken for our players and especially our seniors,” MHS baseball coach Pat Sherald said. “Obviously, the safety and health of our students and community will always be the No. 1 priority. We trust in our leadership and the health experts. We look forward to having a great season once we can get back on the field. We have several players parents that work in healthcare and they are on the frontline. Our thoughts our with them and their family during this time.”
The UHS girls’ basketball team pulled off a comeback to beat Cabell Midland in the quarterfinals of the state tournament Thursday afternoon, but the excitement was short lived when the announcement to suspend the tournament was made during the next game.
The Hawks were set for a rematch from last year’s state championship game against Parkersburg, this time in the semifinals, but instead, UHS is waiting to see if the game will even be played.
“Yeah, this absolutely sucks, especially since we were already down there and played one game,” said Ashten Boggs, a senior waiting to see if she played her last high school game. “We played our hearts out to make sure we didn’t lose that game so we could play another, and right after the celebration, we got it ripped away from us. You wonder if you’ll ever get to play another high school basketball game again when you’ve worked your butt off to get another one.”
Abbie Coen, Bella Bowers, Kassidy Wolfe and Mallory Napolillo are the other seniors on the team.
For the boys, the Hawks aimed for a state championship repeat and looked poise to make another run as the Class AAA No. 1 seed. Instead, the careers of several highly touted seniors may have prematurely came to an end.
“At first, I didn’t want to believe the news and was in complete shock,” senior Kaden Metheny said. “It just feels like a terrible nightmare. Coach (Joe) Schmidle texted the team what all was happening and us, as a team, are just trying to maintain hope that we will be able to finish the season. It’s something that I can’t even put into words of how I feel. I’ve been brought up to always try and find a positive in a situation, but with this one, I am struggling to do that. I do know that there is a reason for this to happen, so I just have to keep my faith over everything and pray that a good will come out of it.”
Seniors include K.J. McClurg, Kyle Smith, John Ross Mazza, Mike Maumbe and Javier Reyes.