Winter sports given the green light

MSHSL votes on winter season, fall playoffs

+The+MSHSL+board+voted+to+go+ahead+with+the+winter+sports+season+in+a+meeting+Oct.+1.+During+the+meeting+the+board+also+decided+to+add+playoffs+to+the+fall+sport+season.

Megan Hoenie

The MSHSL board voted to go ahead with the winter sports season in a meeting Oct. 1. During the meeting the board also decided to add playoffs to the fall sport season.

In a virtual meeting Oct. 1, the Minnesota State High School League board unanimously voted to allow the 2020 winter sports’ season to take place. The schedule approved includes a 30% decrease in the amount of games that will be played, according to Kare 11

According to junior Nordic captain Victoria Schmelzle, the team is comfortable with the decision made because of the outdoor setting and distance during races that is already part of the sport.

“We’re all pretty excited that we’re able to have (the season),” Schmelzle said. “Since it’s outside and usually during races you’re not really close to people, we’re not too worried about it, and we’ve been taking good precautions at our practices to ensure that everybody stays safe.”

Senior boys’ swim captain Hayden Zheng said he is more than pleased with the decision made by Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) to go ahead with the swim season, as it gives seniors like him the opportunity to have one last season.

“I’m ecstatic about it, I was almost devastated, not able to have my senior season,” Zheng said. “This is the time that all high school athletes throughout all sports dream about not having that. (It) would have been would have been terrible for me, so I’m excited.”

My number one goal is for everybody to stay safe and my number two goal is to get season in without disruption, whether those disruptions come from our end or if their from our competitors.”

— Andrew Ewald

Schmelze said among other precautions, the team is taking temperatures before every practice, and she expects other schools to comply with all necessary regulations in order to keep everyone safe. 

“Everybody is hopeful to have a complete season and that’s kind of the only way to do it,” Schmelzle said. “People will take it seriously, so that we’re actually able to compete.”

According to Zheng, the girls’ swim season, which takes place in the fall, has not had any issues so far, and the swim club he participates in has been running smoothly as well, so he doesn’t anticipate any issues with the upcoming season.

“The girls’ swim team has been going pretty well for them in terms of COVID guidelines. And I’ve been swimming with my club for about four months now throughout COVID. So it’s been going well, I’m optimistic going into the season,” Zheng said.

During the meeting, the board also voted on a motion about playoffs for fall sports. In a 10-8 ruling, the board voted against holding post-section games for fall sports. The next MSHSL board meeting will take place Dec. 3 and will decide whether winter sports will be able to participate in state tournaments. At this point, spectator regulations for winter sports are the same as they are for fall, according to John Millea from MSHSL. 

Athletic Director Andrew Ewald agrees as he said his main concern is if everyone is staying safe and preventing themselves from being exposed.

“The biggest challenge is, and we’ve been successful with it thus far is everybody doing the best they can to manage their personal bubble, and to try to follow all the safety precautions to allow us to be able to participate and play,” Ewald said.

According to senior girls’ soccer captain Alanna Franklin, she didn’t think there was any issue in extending the season, as the team has complied with all of the COVID-19 throughout its season, which ended Oct. 14.

“We’ve been doing it for months, most teams have been really good about it, some teams that are smaller and have less people in their school,” Franklin said. “They (are a) little bit more lenient about the mask wearing but everybody so far has been really good about it.”