The Saratoga Sun -

A screeching halt to track

WHSAA announces suspension of spring activities, no practices until April 6


March 18, 2020

With the leaping forward of an hour and the eventual arrival of spring, 1A and 2A schools were preparing to trade the hardwood for the track and field as they prepared for spring sports. Unfortunately, things developed very quickly in the terms of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and that green light is stuck on red.

Last week, the Wyoming High School Athletics Association (WHSAA) issued a press release announcing the suspension of all statewide extracurricular activities from March 16 to March 28. The release, written by WHSAA Commissioner Ron Laird, stated that schools would have the option to extend that timeline if they chose to do so.

It was also in that press release that it was announced that the 3A/4A State Basketball Tournament would not be rescheduled during the school year and would, in fact, not take place.

“We understand the tremendous disappointment this decision is for our student athletes, especially our seniors, but please realize that we must be a responsible state organization and that our highest priority is ensuring the safety of our students, schools and communities,” read the press release.

At the time of the initial press release, WHSAA announced they would allow spring sport practices at the discretion of each school district. The suspension of spring activities was taken in stride by coaches in Saratoga and Encampment, who had been preparing their team for the Wind River Invitational in Pavillion.

“It’s no worse than being cancelled because of a snow storm,” said Rex Hohnholt, head coach for Saratoga track.

“With the WHSAA suspension of activities until the end of March, we hope to continue to practice and prepare for when we are allowed to attend meets,” said Kegan Willford, head coach for Encampment track.

Things changed quickly over the weekend, however, as Governor Mark Gordon and State Superintendent Jillian Balow recommended Sunday that all schools within the state close until April 3. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced their recommendation that gatherings of 50 or more should cease for eight weeks.

Following those two developments, the WHSAA announced an extension of the suspension of all activities until April 6.

“So that everyone will be on an equal playing field, there will be no practices during the suspension,” wrote Laird in a press release. “If and when we do resume spring sports, we will hold to the nine day practice rule and will count any practices from last week. Golf and tennis will not begin until the suspension is lifted and will need to meet the same practice rule as in the past. We recommend you encourage your athletes to stay active and workout on their down during this time period.”

With the question still remaining of making up lost days versus extending the school year, the WHSAA added that they would not be making any decision on spring sports until they received further clarity from the Wyoming Department of Education (WDE).

Should the WHSAA allow spring sports to continue following guidance from the WDE, the track and field athletes of Carbon County School District No. 2 will hopefully be able to begin their season and continue it uninterrupted.


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