Times Staff Writer
Spring break was ruined before it even started for Gunnison High School (GHS) spring sports athletes last week. On Thursday, they received devastating news.
Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA) commissioner Rhonda Blanford-Green announced that “all spring sports and activities will be suspended until early April to address concerns surrounding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.”
That meant that all practices and competitions — the state speech tournament, music festivals and student leadership's Advisor U — are suspended through Monday, April 6.
Later that day, it was announced by the Gunnison Watershed RE1J School District that schools would be suspended from Friday, March 13 to Monday, March 30 — which meant GHS athletes would be forced to hold practices on their own while waiting to see if and when the spring season would begin.
Then, on Tuesday, March 17, it was announced that the district would be suspending school until Wednesday, April 8, while CHSAA extended the spring sports suspension to Saturday, April 18.
“We had a meeting about how they could do things on their own, but I can't be involved,” said GHS’ longtime head baseball coach Tom Percival. “If our leadership steps up and we do what we need to do, we could come out of this in good shape. I think we have a really good group that can step up, so I'm optimistic.”
The baseball team was scheduled to kick their season off last Friday, traveling to Delta to compete in a tournament over the course of two days. Their first home game was scheduled for Saturday, March 28.
Currently the baseball team has 13 games cancelled — with uncertainty on whether the Saturday, April 18, game against Coal Ridge will be played.
The Cowboys still have potentially nine games left in the season — all of which are league games — yet, it's uncertain how the rest of the season will play out.
The track and field team was also scheduled to kick off their season last Saturday, traveling to Montrose to compete in a scrimmage meet. Their first official meet of the season was to take place on Saturday, March 28.
The “field” team is a little more affected than the “track” team, since the pole vaulters, throwers and jumpers will have to get creative training for their potential season.
“In accordance with CHSAA guidelines we are able to communicate with our athletes through our Google classroom and will be providing suggested workouts as a framework for their return,” said head track and field coach Stacey Mickelson. “Track and field is unique and we will have to be very creative in our approach, especially the field event athletes.”
Four meets have already been cancelled, leaving four meets in their season before the start of the state championships on Thursday, May 21.
The only Cowboy team that has already kicked off their season is girls golf. They competed in their first tournament on Monday, March 9.
They’re doubly affected, as the Dos Rios Golf Course is not yet open, meaning the Cowboys can only do so much on their own during this halt in play.
“I have talked to my team, and encouraged them to take the opportunity to practice on their own and make the best of the situation at hand and that even though we're faced with this adversity we will get through this as family,” said head girls golf coach Paul Vickers. “We have to find the strength within to motivate and grow. Not wait for someone or a coach to make it happen.”
The girls golf team has had four invitationals cancelled, leaving only one remaining in their season, before the junior varsity championships on Friday, April 24.
The following week GHS will be home for the lone time of the season, at Dos Rios Golf Course, with regionals expected to start on Monday, May 4, and state starting on Saturday, May 18.
For the time being coaches and athletes will be forced to play the waiting game, as they prepare to hear from CHSAA on how the remainder of the spring season will be played out.
“The situation will be monitored and evaluated with key decision-makers from around the state to determine when, or if, to resume the spring season,” said Blanford-Green.
(Brandon Warr can be contacted at 970.641.1414 or firstname.lastname@example.org.)