High School Spring Sports on a Hiatus

Tigard senior Nathan Saier pole vaults 9’6” in a Tigard home meet in the previous 2019 season. Photo by Henry Kaus.

Before any athlete had a chance to compete, the season was abruptly put on hold. Following nearly every major American professional and collegiate league as well as directives from Oregon Governor Kate Brown, the Oregon School Activities Association called off high school Spring sports contests and practices until at least Apr. 28.

The announcement shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise with a slew of previous championship escalations and K-12 school cancellations.

Basketball playoffs had yet to finish up with Dance/Drill championships on the horizon and on Wednesday, Mar. 11, OSAA made their first announcement to restrict spectators from further entrance into games and the championships.

Along with the press release, the OSAA Executive Director, Peter Weber said, “Our focus is on trying to honor the commitment students have made throughout the season by continuing the contests, albeit without spectators.”

Due to the fret of the spread for COVID-19 between players, this would not be the case as the following day and taking lead from the NCAA, Winter sport championships and contests were outright canceled.

From the news, the 4A-6A basketball champions will remain undecided for the first time since the OSAA took charge of the boys state championships in 1919 and girls in 1976. The Dance and Drill state competition which was slated for Mar. 20 was also unfortunately cut.

The following Friday, Spring sports had its first push-back date set until Mar. 31 immediately following Governor Brown’s K-12 school cancellations. A week later on Mar. 18, once again following the Governor’s directives, Spring sports are further on hold until Apr. 28.

With the Speech championship planned before Apr. 28 and the Solo Music championship just after, they have also been stopped from proceeding due largely in part from organizational difficulties with venue partners.

Tigard junior Luke Shaw runs the 1500 with a 4:51.75 time at a Tigard-Beaverton meet during the previous 2019 spring season. Photo by Henry Kaus.

This leaves many to wonder how and if these sporting events will be made up. The uncertainty seems to be the case for every individual as of now. Coming from the OSAA press release, the OSAA Executive Board has decided to meet on Apr. 1, and again on Apr. 15, to re-evaluate the suspension of Spring activities and sports, along with the remaining Spring State Championships.

Tigard football and track athlete, senior Josh Burns explained, “At the start, I never really believed that they would cancel the season, despite others warning of the possibility, so it came as a surprise to me. However, I understand why they chose to postpone the season and I support the reasoning behind the decision. It sucks having my senior season cut short, but I’m making the best of the situation and getting some much-needed recovery time.”

The OSAA Track and Field State Championship, originally scheduled to be held at the University of Oregon, will now be split up between different venues due to construction timelines for the completion of Hayward Field. New arrangements have the 6A, 5A, 4A events being held at Mt. Hood Community College and the 3A, 2A, 1A events at Western Oregon University, both currently on May 29 and 30.

The cancellations and push-backs have sparked a social media outburst as many have a lot of time on their hands and many words of encouragement. Most notably, gathering the most attention on Instagram, OSAAsports posted: “Hey, this is hard. Be safe. Stay healthy. When the time is right, we WILL play again.”

In the meantime as students are at home for six weeks with in-season and offseason practices cut, athletes still find opportunities to stay active and busy. Due to the lack of gym use, Tigard High Strength has been putting up daily ‘at-home’ workout regiments for the athletes requiring as little equipment as possible.

“In my downtime so far, I’ll admit, I’ve been playing a lot of video games, but I’m staying in shape by doing home workouts and eating relatively healthy home-cooked foods,” Burns said. “I’ve also managed to read a couple books. The first I’ve finished in a while.”

Many other athletes share Burns’ activities for the time being, but the fate of the Spring 2020 sports season is still filled with so much uncertainty. Some are trying to make the most of the break with others taking it as a chance to relax despite the trying times.