POCATELLO — Idaho high school spring sports are suspended starting Tuesday, the Idaho High School Activities Association announced Monday.
The suspension lasts through April 5. During that time, IHSAA member schools may not compete in games or contests, conduct practices at any location, or hold meetings involving coaches and/or student-athletes.
The announcement came in light of the coronavirus pandemic that has caused sporting events throughout the United States to be canceled or postponed. Idaho reported its first confirmed case of the virus on Friday, and there were five confirmed cases as of Monday evening.
The IHSAA also announced the cancellation of this year’s cheer and dance state championships, which were scheduled for March 20 and 21, respectively, in Nampa.
This year’s debate state championships are postponed “as we work on the possibility of combining with the state speech championships,” an IHSAA-issued press release states. The speech state championships are scheduled for April 17-18 in Coeur d’Alene.
On Friday, the IHSAA told the Journal that state championships for spring sports are still planned to take place as scheduled. In Monday’s announcement, the IHSAA said the dates of this year’s spring state tournaments will not be extended.
“When the state comes down and makes a decision, you can’t get mad about it,” said Century golf coach Travis Hobson, who also coaches Century’s football team in the fall. “They’re trying to be very considerate of the overall health of our communities.
“I’m bummed for all our local athletes who at a bear minimum will have their seasons cut in half or won’t have a season.”
Many professional sports leagues have suspended their seasons, and the NCAA recently announced that it plans to extend eligibility for spring sports athletes who lost their seasons because of the coronavirus.
But high school seniors don’t get the same sense of continuation pros and college athletes do.
“You immediately just start thinking of those seniors,” Century tennis coach Sean Kane said. “For me, it’s the seniors I’m worried about and hoping we can get back by April.”
Like Kane, Highland baseball coach Christian Colonel hopes his team still gets a chance to compete for a state championship. The Rams are 3-0 this season, with two wins over defending 5A state champion Mountain View.
Six of Highland’s players are seniors.
“Our Highland team is more prepared than they’ve ever been,” Colonel said. “They are a phenomenal team that can make a run at a state championship this year. ... I hope my seniors are able to finish what they’ve started. This is a great life lesson for our young guys, to never take a repetition/practice/game for granted, it may be your last.
“My message to the community, please practice social distancing for the next three weeks in hopes everyone is healthy and our season resumes.”