By David Troppens
So what’s the possibility there will be prep sports before the end of the 2019-20 school year?
If you ask MHSAA Executive Director Mark Uyl, he’s still reasonably hopeful there could still be prep athletic events.
Currently, all MHSAA-sponsored sporting events are suspended until at least April 5. When they were suspended, several winter sports postseasons were yet concluded, including seasons for the Lake Fenton varsity girls basketball team, the Linden varsity boys basketball team, the LFLF varsity gymnastics squad and the Fenton varsity boys swim team. All spring sports teams were brought to a halt during their practice sessions. None of the teams had started their seasons yet.
When one looks at what’s happening nationally with professional and collegiate sports, it would seem unlikely either the winter season would be finished or the spring season continued, but during a radio appearance on “The Huge Show” Uyl said he remains hopeful.
“Some have said you’re giving folks false hope with this approach,” Uyl said during the interview. “I don’t think we’re giving false hope. I don’t know where we’re going to be in three weeks or six weeks and nine weeks. Frankly, with as much negativity and as anxious as we feel right now, I just want some hope, period. I think that promising nothing beyond what we’re going to announce or do in the next three weeks, I think most people understand that.”
Uyl said a deadline date when it’s too late to continue the winter seasons or return to spring activities does currently exist. Uyl said the MHSAA will continue to listen to what government leaders and medical personnel are saying and will evaluate that situation in three week segments.
“I think it’s a pretty prudent plan of let’s just take things in three-week segments and let’s see what the world looks like on April 6,” Uyl said. “If we’re still in a shutdown, but a long-term decision hasn’t been made, it will be then let’s look again at what late April brings and then you move to May and then you keep taking it three weeks at a time. I think most people understand that.”
The Lake Fenton varsity girls basketball team saw its season suspended after defeating Marine City 74-31 in a D2 regional semifinal game, and the Linden varsity boys basketball team had its season suspended after beating the Holly Bronchos 67-66 in a D1 district semifinal game. The Fenton varsity boys swim team missed out on competing at the D2 state meet while the LFLF gymnastics team had individual competitors qualify for the individual gymnastics state meet.
One Lake Fenton varsity girls basketball player, senior Katelyn Siebert, still hopes to play the rest of those tournament games.
“I’m still looking forward to playing (our regional championship game),” Siebert said. “We still want to keep on playing.”
“My heart just absolutely breaks for these seniors and their families out there right now that have had the end of a winter tournament interrupted and with spring kind of up in the air,” Uyl said.
“That’s why it really motivates me each day to go in and take it in three-week blocks and (see if) conditions have changed and it’s safe.
“When the time is right we will play again. That’s really something that fuels us. I’m just hoping that circumstances can change here where we’re going to be able to give this year’s seniors something to remember the year on rather than it being the year of the coronavirus hiatus.”