‘My heart goes out to the kids’: High school teams facing reality of shortened sports season due to coronavirus worries

Edmonds-Woodway girls tennis Coach Dan Crist spent part of Friday’s practice addressing the suspension of team matches through April 12 with his team. (Photo by Doug Petrowski)

Edmonds School District officials have suspended all evening student, parent and community events at district facilities though April 12 due to concerns about the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. While the decision affects all aspects of student extra-curricular activities — music, drama, STEM clubs and more — the area visibly hit is sports, as dozens of games and competitions for spring season student athletes are now on hold.

The prep spring sports season comprises baseball, softball, boys soccer, girls tennis, golf and track; the number of district student athletes that participate in these sports totals in the hundreds.

While early reactions among the athletic directors and coaches at Edmonds-Woodway, Meadowdale, Lynnwood and Mountlake Terrace High Schools seemed understanding, there was also disappointment. 

“My heart goes out to the kids,” said Meadowdale Athletic Director Beth Marriott.

In the announcement of event suspensions, Edmonds School District Superintendent Dr. Kristine McDuffy also expressed regret.

“We know how hard our students work and how much our community loves to enjoy their talents,” McDuffy stated. “However, we feel this precaution is necessary to reduce possible exposure to our school communities.”

Although games, meets and competitions have been postponed, team practices will continue for all sports at all four high schools. “Practices will continue to take place as they are an extension of the school day,” Marriott explained.

The first competition scheduled for district spring sports teams had been set for Saturday, March 12 — some baseball and softball jamborees and a Meadowdale Mavericks’ boys soccer match at Edmonds Stadium. Those are now the first events on the sports calendar to be postponed, with dozens more games and competitions suspended until mid-April.

Even away games and meets for district teams are being suspended as local and out-of-state travel for student athletes is being canceled by district officials.

Edmonds School District Athletic Director Julie Stroncek spent much of Friday afternoon contacting referee associations to cancel their assignments to district events while school athletic directors answered inquiries from students, coaches, parents and the media.

It is unknown how the suspension of dozens of Edmonds School District games, meets and competitions will affect the remainder of the spring sports season. “How all of this impacts the (Wesco) league, postseason qualifications, etc. is to be determined,” said Lynnwood High School Athletic Director Rob McMains.

Although the suspension of district events was just announced on Friday, athletic directors have already begun trying to update the spring sports calendar. “We are working on rescheduling the league events we will miss as they are a priority,” said Mountlake Terrace High School Athletic Director Sharalee Burr. “Non-league events we may not be able to make up, depending on schedules.”

A suspension of spring sports through April 12 takes away a large portion of the district games, meets and competitions for local teams. High school baseball and softball teams are allowed 20 games in a regular season. With Friday’s announced suspensions, Edmonds-Woodway baseball and softball are each down to 12 games, Meadowdale baseball and softball each have just 11 games on their schedule, Lynnwood baseball and Mountlake Terrace softball are likewise down to 11 games, Lynnwood softball has 10 games on their schedule and Mountlake Terrace baseball is down to just nine games.

The suspensions hit boys soccer even harder, as the squads from E-W, Meadowdale, Lynnwood and Mountlake Terrace have all had at least half of their regular season matches scratched at this point.

Some of the suspended games are expected to be rescheduled, but that will be difficult as the calendar is already crowded in April and early May; also, availability of fields and rules that limit the number of pitches that a particular player can throw in a week will also have to be considered.

Coaches, although disappointed with the suspension of competition, took the news mostly in stride. “We will continue to practice in preparation of upcoming games, no matter when that might be,” said Meadowdale boys soccer Coach Mike Nelson.

Edmonds-Woodway girls tennis Coach Dan Crist spent part of Friday’s practice reassuring his team that the suspension of contests and re-scheduling of matches wasn’t a big concern of his right now. 

“I’m not worried about it, it’s not my job to worry about it,” he told his varsity and JV players. “It’s my job to make you better tennis players.”

— By Doug Petrowski

4 Replies to “‘My heart goes out to the kids’: High school teams facing reality of shortened sports season due to coronavirus worries”

  1. The EW dance team is being hit the hardest by this decision. They start practicing the in the fall with the goal of competing at the state competition. They practice a minimum of 6 hours a week, up to 8-12 hours a week at times. They compete in multiple competitions throughout the year. The team has qualified for state in Yakima at the end of March, but now won’t be able to attend- destroying the goal they have worked so hard for. This is ridiculous and unfair. The Sounders are still competing. And you can bet if this were the football team that had made it to state the coaches, team and parents would be in an uproar.

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  2. There should be exceptions to the rules for the “Winter” teams that have qualified for their State Competition scheduled for later in March! Though Dance/Drill not technically a sport, meets all sports requirements, restrictions and regulations and is now robbed of what they work so hard for all year long.

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  3. NCAA has banned fans from some playoff games, but the games are still happening. I wonder whether that would be an option for these teams.

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