“I honestly have no idea what to expect just like everybody else.”
Garrett track coach Justin Weber doesn’t know what the spring sports season will look like, and he’s not alone.
All of the schools in the KPC Media Group area are closed for the time being because of the impact of COVID-19 coronavirus, which has put a pause on the baseball, softball, girls tennis, boys golf and track seasons.
During this time, programs are not allowed to hold formal practices, leaving athletes to practicing on their own for a potentially shortened season.
East Noble baseball coach Aaron Desmonds told his team last Friday that their season was postponed.
“It was mostly positive. I think some of them were worried. I could kind of tell by the look on their faces. I think a lot of them were fearing the worst that they may take the whole season. I guess they still might,” Desmonds said.
Angola softball coach Dave Moyer talked to his seniors on Monday.
“They were very disappointed,” Moyer said.
Senior athletes all across the area feel the same way because they might not have the opportunity to play their respective sport again unless they go on to play in college.
All college spring sports seasons have been canceled, and those seniors in spring sports will be granted extra eligibility to play another season.
“I understand it. I hate seeing the word cancellation pop up. I wish you would see more postponement and suspension just give the opportunity to reconvene if this blows over faster than we know,” Westview baseball coach Jason Rahn said on Friday.
Garrett didn’t cancel school until over the weekend, so Weber didn’t get the opportunity to meet with his team in-person and tell them the plan moving forward.
“I didn’t get to have any closure or anything with our kids, even the expectations of how this would go. I basically drafted up a general email and was able to contact my kids,” Weber said.
He sent workout plans for each individual position so when they potentially come back to school, they will be ready to go.
Rahn said he would advice his players to keep doing all of the necessary things to stay in baseball shape. Desmonds said he wants his pitchers to continue on the throwing program that they were on before the season was postponed.
“They’ve been working too hard, and we can’t let all of that to go to waste for if and when our season picks up again,” Desmonds said.
“I told my kids, ‘When we return, the expectation is to hit the ground running and we need to be prepared to run this track season,’” Weber said.
“I don’t know if that is realistic or not, but that’s what I told them in the email.”
It could be a little more difficult for a track athlete to train in comparison to a baseball or tennis athlete, because there aren’t any open track facilities.
“They’re not supposed to be in the facilities, and it’s not like there’s tracks everywhere. Schools are pretty much the only place that has them,” Weber said.
Moyer encouraged his players to get together on their own as well but has run into some issues already.
“The pitchers can continue to work on the things they’ve been working on. Their big problem now would be to find a catcher,” Moyer said.
Moyer added the parent of one of his players said they wouldn’t allow them to leave the house.
“You can’t disrespect a parent’s wish on that,” Moyer said.
Many are hopeful that the season does continue in late April or early May.
“I’m along the same lines (as the players) with a little bit of relief that we haven’t totally lost our season yet,” Desmonds said.
The athletic directors of the Northeast Corner Conference met on Tuesday with the intention of putting together a potential spring sports schedule.
For some sports, it’s easier to play more games in a shorter time frame. Moyer would like to get the majority of the season in before the postseason starts.
“Once the season gets rolling, it’s not unusual for schools to play three or four games during the week and Saturday doubleheaders,” Moyer said.
“There’s been a few times we’ve played seven games in that six-day period because usually we were making a rainout or two up. That’s not unusual. I’d like to see us get in 15 to 20 games and the state tournament.”
Baseball teams could run into a problem with the pitch count rule and how many pitchers would be available to take the mound.
Desmonds said there was a schedule idea from district representatives that would push the season back a week to allow for more games. Then, instead of a Saturday regional, do a Tuesday regional and semi-state on the same Saturday that it is scheduled for now.
That would need to be approved by the Indiana High School Athletic Association, which has said the spring sports season will go on at the discretion of each member school.
On Friday, the IHSAA tweeted out what it sent to its member schools regarding spring sports. No update has been released since.
The 10-practice rule will not be waived, a decision on the minimum number of contests to become eligible for the postseason will be made at a later date and the association is planning on staging all spring sport tournaments as scheduled.