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Players, coaches, schools, fans left to wait and see if the 2020 campaign will resume

PMG FILE PHOTO: DAN BROOD - Members of the Tualatin softball team celebrate following a dramatic state playoff semifinal win at Grants Pass last year. The Timberwolves are hoping they get the chance to make another big postseason run this year.The high school spring sports season is on hold, at least for now.

In a release sent out March 13 by the Oregon School Activities Association, the OSAA has suspended interscholastic practices and contests for sports and activities for all member schools effective today through March 31, due to concerns of the COVID-19 virus.

"Everything is cancelled," Sherwood High School athletic director Randy Ramp said. "I'm sure that sometime before the 31st, that the OSAA will send out an update."

That looks to be the case, as the OSAA, in this morning's release, says, "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."

And, with Oregon Governor Kate Brown's announcement on Tuesday that schools in the state will now be closed through April 28, it looks to be sure that the spring sports suspension will continue through that date, if not longer.

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

"You have to have a certain number of practices before competition," Ramp said.

And there will be no practices held during the suspension.

"Kids, if they want to, can do something on their own," Ramp said. "But coaches can't organize anything at all."

That's left local athletes on their own — and concerned.

"There's not a thing we can do," said Tualatin High School senior Tia Ridings, who was a first-team Class 6A all-state pitcher last year, when she helped the Timberwolves reach the Class 6A state championship game. "We literally, just a few minutes ago, found out that we weren't going to be going back to school until April 28 at the earliest. We had a group chat, and everyone was crying. We've got eight seniors, and it's heartbreaking."

"It's a bummer, it's all shut down," said Tualatin senior Bella Valdes, a shortstop who helped lead the Wolves to the Class 6A state championship in 2018, and the state title game last year. "We're all trying to stay hopeful. We were just getting ready. We were looking really good, and we were having a lot of fun."

The Tualatin High School softball team, which is the No. 1 team in the preseason Class 6A coaches poll, seems to have all the ingredients to make a state championship run in 2020.

"This can be a really good team," Valdes said.

"The title has been in our site since we lost (5-4 to Sheldon in the Class 6A championship game) last year," Ridings said. "We have a lot of potential."

Tualatin team captains Ridings, Valdes, senior Sydney Wagner and senior Savannah Braun tried to organize a players-only workout on Tuesday. But, after they received texts from other players, saying that their parents were concerned, the workout was called off.

But the Wolves refuse to be deterred.

"I'm still pitching," Ridings said. "And we just have to do stuff on our own, even if it's just hitting off a tee in the garage."

No matter what, the Tualatin team is aiming to stay optimistic.

"I'm trying to be positive," Ridings said. "We're all trying to be hopeful. I'm hoping we get a chance to play, even if it's in a shortened season. If we do get to go back and play on the (April) 28th, that means we may miss only four or five league games, and I think we could squeeze those in."

PMG FILE PHOTO: DAN BROOD - Sherwood High School junior Asher Krauel, shown here at last year's Pacific Conference district track and field meet, and his Bowmen teammates are hoping they get a chance to win a state title  this year.Meanwhile, over at Sherwood, the Bowmen boys track and field team very likely would be the favorite to win a Class 6A state championship this year. The Sherwood squad returns every single point-scorer from last year's squad that finished second to Tualatin at last year's Class 6A state championships.

"It's disappointing," said Sherwood junior Asher Krauel, who looks to be one of the top javelin throwers in the state this year. "Me, and a bunch of other guys, worked hard all offseason to be ready. The junior year is the most important when it comes to college recruiting, but we're doing our best to stay optimistic."

And the Bowmen aren't giving up on the season.

"We're just doing what we've been doing all offseason," Krauel said. "And we're trusting that what we're doing is right. It takes a lot of self-discipline, but we're hopeful."

And the Bowmen team is hopeful that the season can still be saved, and that't there's gold at the end of the rainbow.

"We're looking at the state title," Krauel said. "We were looking at this to be a special season, and hopefully, it still will be."

Coaches have also been left in an unknowing situation.

"We found out on Thursday (March 12) that there was a chance this could happen," Tualatin track and field coach Hashim Hall said. "Then, after practice on Thursday, we found out that there would be no practice on Friday. We put it all out there for the team, and told them that they need to keep it going. They need to keep working out, on the beach, on the street, where ever, and you'll be fine."

But, it's more than just practice and preparation that have been affected.

"We had a fund-raiser that was supposed to be today (March 13), and we had to cancel it," Hall said. "We had all of the food donated, all free, and there was going to be an auction. We sold tickets. Now, we have to try and make up for that."

"This is so hard for all of our athletes," Tigard assistant track and field coach Christy Westover said on Twitter. "They've been training hard in the offseason to be ready to complete. Breaks my heart, but it's for the best."

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.

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 on March 13: "Due to the recent Oregon School closures and taking into consideration OSAA`s suspension of Spring Sports, OHSLA will Suspend all High School Lacrosse practices, scrimmages and games through March 31st, 2020. During this time, the OHSLA Officers will establish a plan for the season moving forward, should that option be available to the OHSLA. In the interim, OHSLA will continue to follow the OSAA as it pertains to spring sports. Any and all updates to the OHSLA 2020 season will be sent through our email distribution system."

The Oregon Girls Lacrosse Association has this message on its website on March 13: "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."


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