Start of BHS winter sports delayed again; outlook not good.

By Bill Cauley

Not totally unexpected, but a little surprising.

Due to COVID-19 metric concerns, Frederick County Public Schools announced the start of the winter sports season has been delayed until further notice.

Teams were to have started their winter seasons (basketball, indoor track and field, wrestling, swimming, and diving) on Tuesday, January 5. At first, FCPS officials announced on Tuesday, December 22, they were pushing back the start of the winter sports season until January 19.

On Sunday, January 3, school board officials announced all learning was going viral. In the same announcement, the school board said all sports practices and pre-season conditioning for the winter seasons have been placed on hold.

The school board said the COVID-19 numbers in the county were still too high to proceed as planned.

For BHS boys’ basketball coach Dan “Duck” McLane, the news of another suspension of pre-season practices is an enormous setback, one which may mean there will be no winter sports this year.

“Very, very disappointing,” McLane said of the latest development. “I really feel for the kids.”

For the winter season, time is running out.

Kevin Kendro, supervisor of athletics and extracurricular activities for FCPS, said in an email the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association specifies the winter sports season must end by February 13.

“At this time, winter sports are suspended indefinitely,” Kendro said.

This new suspension of winter sports activities is not unique to the region. West Virginia high schools have pushed back their start date for winter sports to March 1, due to COVID-19.

McLane said with the window for trying to work in a winter sports schedule getting smaller and smaller with each passing week, there be not be much of a path forward, even if schools are given the green light to resume practices in a few weeks.

“I especially feel bad for our seniors,” McLane said. “For some of them, all they do is play basketball.”

“Obviously, it’s disappointing to them, kind of deflating,” BHS girls basketball coach Larry Brown said. “They really want the opportunity to play.”

The decision to suspend activities didn’t sneak up on anyone.

“We sort of saw it in our rear view mirror,” Brown said. “With the COVID-19 numbers going up, we thought something like this might happen.”

Prior to this latest suspension of activities, the Railroader girls were continuing to adjust well to a new system, Brown said. “They were really becoming motivated as a team,” he said. “Hopefully, things will stay that way until we find out what’s going on.”

Time may have already run out for BHS’s wrestling team.

Typically, wrestling season wraps up in early February, so the February 13 state cutoff may well mean no wrestling this year. BHS wrestling coach Scott Tilles agrees.

“I doubt if we will still have a season,” he said. “I spoke with my three seniors, Enrique Deanda, Ethan Grossnickle, and Jacob Henderson, and they really want to wrestle. I told them to just hang in there. The rest of the kids are just going with the flow. My freshman, Morgan Corwine, really wants to wrestle and it’s kind of sad for him because he could have 100 wins by his senior year, and this will hurt him.”

As an assistant football coach, Tilles remains hopeful, encouraging his football-playing wrestlers to keep their heads up about playing football, which is slated to begin in February.

Jim Castle
Staff Writer Jim Castle