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With spring sports still in the air and the return to school date sitting at May 1, a petition appeared online with, at the time of this writing, over 30,000 signatures with a goal of 35,000.
With no outline on how to deal with the current situation, different agencies are working together to give the high school kids the best experiences they can while also keeping everyone safe.
“I hope people understand we are in the business of activities for kids,” said Tom Keating, Iowa High School Athletic Association Director. “We are working with the music and speech associations and the girls union to lay out a plan that makes sense and keeps everybody safe.”
The petition, on change.org, is requesting that the spring sports season overflows into the summer. While, this sounds like an easy solution to give senior athletes their last moments on the oval, it isn’t always that easy.
“We are aware of it [the petition],” said Keating. “We want it and it could still be on if schools open back up on April 13. We are also looking at can we delay things a week, length of the season, how far out we can go, will venues be available, there is a lot that goes into it.”
Since speaking with Keating, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has pushed the school closure to April 30.
Raider track coach Brad Elliott stressed that kids are already choosing with summer and spring sports, with the State Track Meet overlapping into the summer season, which is held at the end of May.
“If the two seasons were to exist in a side-by-side scenario small schools are going to suffer,” said coach Elliott. “Track is a sport that requires a good amount of preparation in order to be safe for the athletes.”
Elliott stated track usually has four to five weeks of supervised practices before competing at an outdoor meet.
“If the season is allowed, it would need to be extended to a date where teams can have a certain amount of supervised training leading back into competition,” said coach Elliott. “A rushed track season could set kids up for muscle injury if they are not self-motivated and currently doing unsupervised training.”
Schools are now closed until April 30, with an anticipated return date of May 1.
On April 6, the IGHSAU and the IHSAA worked together to come up with a short spring season that will end with a state tournament.
The schedule will begin with a first practice date of May 1 and the first competition date will be May 4 for track & field and golf.
The postseason lead-up date will be May 28 for track & field with a State Meet held June 4-6, while golf will see a postseason lead-up May 29 and June 5 for boys and May 26 and June 1 for girls.
For golf, the girls will see a State competition on June 8-9, while the boys will compete June 11-12.
This schedule is dependant on the return of students to classes on May 1, but guidelines are being updated every day with new stipulations.
Be sure to follow the news from the Governor’s office and keep up-to-date on the sports season on the IHSGAU and IHSAA websites.