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Wyoming spring sports season canceled

Wyoming spring sports season canceled

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Girls 4A State Soccer Finals

Despite the weather, fans watch the championship match of the Wyoming State High School Class 4A Girls Soccer Championships on May 19, 2018 in Jackson.

The Wyoming spring season was over before it began. It just took until Tuesday to become official.

The Wyoming High School Activities Association Board of Directors, and the member schools they represent, confirmed on Tuesday that the spring sports season has been canceled altogether to conform with federal and local social distancing guidelines concerning the novel coronavirus pandemic. It’s the first time an entire seasonal sports slate, as sanctioned by the WHSAA, has been canceled without any events taking place.

“It is with deep regret that the WHSAA Board of Directors announces the cancelling of all spring sports,” the WHSAA stated in a release. “Due to the continuing influence of COVID-19, we are not able to predict when it will be safe to resume spring sports, nor are we able to assure if any of our communities would be able to host any of our events.

“The WHSAA Board of Directors promotes the benefits of participating in education-based activities. We also understand the overwhelming disappointment this decision is for our student athletes, especially our seniors.

“As we all continue to adapt to the pandemic, academics need to be the focus of our students and schools to be able to complete a successful school year.”

Tuesday’s official decision comes 28 days after the first allowable practice dates for track and field and soccer.

WHSAA commissioner Ron Laird and the WHSAA Board of Directors met via a video conference Monday at 1:30 p.m. to discuss the fate of spring sports, but waited until Tuesday to release a statement.

The recent announcement delivered the death knell in the heart of spring sports that had already been put on notice by two previous announcements. On March 13 — the day after WHSAA officials took heed to the Natrona County Health Department’s calls to cancel the Wyoming State High School Class 3A/4A Basketball Championships — the WHSAA announced it was suspending spring competition until March 28 but teams could practice during that time. Three days later the WHSAA, falling in line with Center for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, extended its suspension to April 6 and forbid teams from practicing during that time. On March 28 the WHSAA extended its suspension to April 20 to match the order made by Governor Mark Gordon that same day.

“Please realize that our highest priority, as always, is ensuring the health and safety of our students, schools and communities during this challenging time,” the statement read. “We must be a responsible organization and we look forward to the day when our students are again participating in education-based activities.”

Wyoming follows states like Nebraska, Michigan and Indiana that have canceled their spring sports season. The NCAA canceled its spring sports championships season in March.

High school sports in Wyoming move into limbo during the summer. Wyoming Shrine Bowl Game executive director Frank Selby announced the cancellation of the 2020 incarnation game on Sunday. The Wyoming Coaches Association All-Star Basketball, Soccer and Volleyball Games — all scheduled for July — remain on schedule.

The first allowable practice date for the 2020-21 academic year starts with golf on Aug. 11 as the WHSAA follows the same weekly timeline from the previous year.

Follow sports reporter Brady Oltmans on Twitter @BradyOltmans

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