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COVID-19 spread puts spring sports season in holding pattern, waiting game through March 31

TIMES FILE PHOTO - Mountainside junior infielder Justin Hughes and the rest of the Metro League athletic world are put on pause through March 31.

On the heels of the OSAA canceling both the girls' and boys' basketball tournaments due to COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, hope is still being held out for spring sports.

In a release sent out March 13th by the Oregon School Activities Association, the OSAA has suspended interscholastic practices and contests for sports and activities for all member schools effective through March 31. That ruling is sure to be prolonged after Oregon Gov. Kate Brown extended the statewide school closure to six weeks. The governor's office announced Tuesday, March 17, that students wouldn't be back in school until at least April 28.

The OSAA said, "During this suspension, we will evaluate this evolving public health situation with the Oregon Health Authority, the Oregon Department of Education, the OSAA Executive Board, the OSAA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee and member school administrators from throughout the state to determine when, or if, to resume the spring season."

If, and when, the high school spring sports season resumes, there are still other considerations to look at before competition begins.

The OSAA sanctioned spring season sports include baseball, softball, boys track and field, girls track and field, girls tennis, boys tennis, boys golf and girls golf. Beaverton softball coach James Lambert believed the season should start on April 1 with games starting on April 6th. That would give most schools three preseason games before league play starts. Now, who knows? The Beaverton girls' basketball reached the Class 6A semifinals before the OSAA canceled the rest of the state tournament. The day before the semis the OSAA planned on allowing the postseason to continue, only with no fans, parents or patrons in the stands. The spring season, should it be allowed to commence, could look similar with nobody but coaches, players and credentialed media allowed to watch. But that's simply a proposition at this point.

"I will be sad if they do not allow fans to come to the game if we resume, and for the parents of seniors not to be able to witness their child's last year of playing," Lambert said. "I am very disappointed that our youth is dealing with this. I am saddened that our girls' basketball was not able to finish what they have worked so hard."

"The news of the suspension of practices and games was very hard," Mountainside baseball coach Ryan Fobert said. "Most of our players have been preparing all year for this spring season. When practices resume, I anticipate all players being eager to get back out on the field. Hopefully, they are taking it upon themselves to keep their arms and body in shape during this two-week suspension."

Fobert said if Mountainside can resume practices and games in April, it will be difficult for all teams since everyone will be starting league play right away. The Mavericks have a bye week that first week.

"So, we will be able to get a few non-league games in beforehand which will be nice, but we'll still be hitting the ground running like everyone else," Fobert said.

The product on the fields, the diamonds, the track, the golf courses, the tennis courts could be diminished simply due to the lack of practice time leading up to the season.

"It's going to hamper us if it doesn't shut it down altogether," Beaverton track and field head coach Bob Boyer said. "Many of our standout athletes have been training hard and will during the downtime, but it will greatly hamper our marks."

TIMES FILE PHOTO - Beaverton senior track star Nathan Reed and the rest of the Metro League athletic world are put on pause through March 31.

Boys and girls high school lacrosse are not sanctioned by the OSAA. The Oregon High School Lacrosse Association (boys lacrosse), had this message from OHSLA commissioner Pete Schlesinger on its website this morning: "To the OHSLA Community. With all that is going on in a World being affected with the Coronavirus19, we want to update everyone with where OHSLA Officers are at this moment. The Officers are monitoring the OSAA and other State sport entities. At this moment we are continuing with the 2020 Lacrosse season. We, as stated, will monitor the OSAA and how they handle the upcoming spring sports season. If, and when there are changes, we will act accordingly. Please refer and monitor the OHSLA website for further updates."

The Oregon Girls Lacrosse Association has this message on its website today: "OGLA Community — Due to the recent school closures and taking into consideration OSAA's suspension of spring sports, OGLA will suspend all youth and high school practices and games through March 31, 2020. During this time, the OGLA Board will establish a plan for the season going forward and relay this to our community as soon as it becomes available. Additionally, due to the changes and potential extension of our season, Oregon will not be sending a team to the 2020 National Tournament during Memorial Day weekend. OGLA will continue to follow OSAA as it pertains to spring sports. Any and all updates to the season will be sent to the entire community. Thank you."

Dan Brood and Geoff Pursinger contributed to this story.

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