The fate of local fall sports was put in flux Friday afternoon. Hope is still lingering among school teams to be able to finish seasons, but COVID has no doubt put a damper on getting games played.
Director of Schools Grant Swallows made the decision that Warren County schools will no be in session next week, with the shutdown starting Monday, Aug. 30 and stretching through Labor Day on Monday, Sept. 6. Swallows announced the decision shortly after schools dismissed Friday afternoon.
While the announcement was certain in creating an absence of classroom activities, there was some leeway left for extra curricular activities, including sports. According to Swallows’ statement, “extra-curricular activities will be on a case-by-case basis and limited to those activities that can take place safely.”
Football is hopeful it will someday be able to kick off its season at the high-school level. Coach Matt Turner had already shut his program down until Labor Day, making the call on Tuesday to shut down all practices and games, including Friday’s scheduled home matchup with White County and next week’s trip to face Ridgeway in Memphis.
Likewise, WCMS coach Ben Matheney had his team home all week, a byproduct of seeing last week’s game against Franklin North and this week’s matchup against Franklin South shelved. Because of a school decision, the Pioneers will no longer be going forward with their scheduled home opener against Harris that was scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 2.
On the WCMS Facebook page, principal Alisa Rice and athletic director Betsy McBride released the following joint statement:
We have decided it would be in our best interest to cancel all sports events for next week: no games, practice, or conditioning. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause. Student health and safety are our focus.
Warren County Middle School is going forward with the Pioneer Invitational Saturday morning, which will feature the WCMS and WCHS cross country teams.
The WCMS volleyball team was scheduled to play two home games next week, facing Franklin North and Franklin South. The Lady Pioneers, after a win Thursday over Harris, are currently second in the Central Tennessee Conference standings.
The WCMS Lady Pioneer soccer team, which fell at home 4-1 Friday against Franklin County, was scheduled to face Coffee County and Harris next week. There is no word from the programs, as of Friday night, on possible make-up days.
Games could go on next week for Warren County High School. Both the Lady Pioneer soccer team, along with the WCHS golf team, haven’t had COVID issues within the squads, so they’re hopeful they can remain in competitions.
According to coaches Todd Willmore and JW Holt, neither program has had a positive case or a player in close contact quarantine. If that holds up, they’ll be back outdoors playing next week.
“We hope to play unless things change,” said Willmore about his Lady Pioneers. Willmore also serves as WCHS athletic director. “We will see how it plays out. Hopefully, we can stay healthy and safe to continue our season. We plan to monitor any changes daily and make adjustments as needed.”
Golf coach JW Holt said, “We are still having our match Monday as of today (Friday night). It could change anytime.”
The Lady Pioneers are scheduled to take on Oakland, which was down to 12 players due to contact tracing by Friday, on Tuesday, Aug. 31 at home. The golf teams will also be at home Monday, where they will face Livingston Academy at McMinnville Country Club.
Coach Erin Blalock may not have her Lady Pioneer volleyball team on the court. The WCHS volleyball team has already faced COVID postponements this season and Blalock mentioned how, even before Swallows’ announcement, that she “had already began rescheduling next week’s matches anyway.”
At Boyd Christian, athletic director Tim Page plans on seeing the Lady Broncos stay in action. “No changes as of now,” was Page’s thoughts on Friday as the volleyball team is slated to play three matches next week.
Two of those matches, including a Monday tri-match that features Covenant Academy, are scheduled to be played at JK Stanley Gymnasium. There was no word from the Lady Lions as of Friday night, but no indications had arisen that Covenant was planning on taking a break either.
Be sure to follow the Warren County Sports Authority on Facebook and Twitter (@the_WCSA) to get the latest details on scheduling changes.