The Van Wert County Courthouse

Thursday, May. 28, 2020

Winter tournaments officially canceled

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent sports editor

COLUMBUS — Ohio High School Athletic Association Executive Director Jerry Snodgrass made it official Thursday afternoon.

Snodgrass announced that 2019-2020 winter sports tournaments – boys’ regional basketball and state girls’ basketball, wrestling and ice hockey – are canceled due to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. The tournaments were postponed indefinitely on March 12.

The four winter state tournaments and a few events during World War II are the only sports cancellations in the history of the OHSAA.

“We are just devastated that the tournaments cannot be completed, but our priority is the safety of our student-athletes, coaches, communities and officials,” Snodgrass said. “Governor Mike DeWine is asking all Ohioans to do everything they can to stop the spread of this virus. That request, along with our schools not being able to reopen for weeks, means that school sports cannot happen at this time.”

“Even if our schools reopen this spring, it will be difficult to find facilities willing to host the tournaments,” Snodgrass added. “Most campuses are shut down until mid-to-late summer.”

Among the area schools affected by the decision – Parkway, who qualified for the Division VI boys’ basketball regionals for the first time in school history and was scheduled to play Columbus Grove for the regional championship and a spot in the state tournament.

OHSAA officials are considering ways that affected student-athletes can be honored at next year’s state tournament.

A decision hasn’t been made yet on how to honor boys’ basketball regional qualifiers, but the 16 schools that qualified for the girls basketball state tournament and the four teams that qualified for the ice hockey state tournament will all receive state tournament programs.

In a memo to wrestling coaches, Snodgrass said the 672 student-athletes who qualified for the wrestling state tournament, including three-time state qualifier Gabe Steyer of Van Wert, will receive official programs, gold certificates of participation and weigh-in cards.

No state champions will be listed for these four sports in 2020. The OHSAA does not use state polls from the media or coaches associations to determine state champions.

The start of the OHSAA’s spring sports of softball, lacrosse, baseball, track and field and boys tennis is still postponed, which coincides with schools not being open. Practices are currently scheduled to resume on April 6 and games and meets are slated to begin on April 11.

However, it is believed that Ohio schools will not be able to reopen for many weeks, which prevents interscholastic athletics from taking place, meaning the status of the 2020 spring sports season may be in jeopardy.

POSTED: 03/26/20 at 1:08 pm. FILED UNDER: Sports