Spring sports not done just yet

Season is suspended, but the WIAA hasn’t canceled it as of last week
By 
MITCH MAERSCH
Ozaukee Press staff

High school spring sports are still possible this season, after the WIAA Board of Control last week voted to delay a decision on what to do about season and tournaments.

In the meantime, however, practices aren’t being held with schools delivering education online, with many on spring break this week.

If and when schools return to brick-and-mortar format, teams will still have to hold the minimum number of practices before competing in games.

Coaches are keeping their fingers crossed as the waiting game continues.

“As of right now I’m hopeful that we can still salvage the outdoor portion of the season. Although that is looking less likely with each passing day,” Port Washington High School boys’ track and field coach Mark Pasten said.

“I feel for the athletes who have been working hard all winter to prepare themselves for this season. Some of our athletes would have been transitioning from junior varsity competition to varsity competitions this year and they will miss out on being able to participate at some great facilities like the University of Wisconsin and Ripon College.”

His athletes, however, are still preparing for the season, following training schedules their event coaches have prepared for them.

“It is usually better for training to have teammates around, that can push you and encourage you, but these athletes are driven and determined to be their best. They are going to have to be creative in some cases, because they are not going to have access to our facilities, equipment or the implements,” he said.

Pasten said pole vault, hurdles and the throwing events would be the most difficult to practice outside of school.

Ozaukee High School track and field coach Andrew Pfeuffer said his athletes are following their training regimens as well, but it is difficult to get ready for a shortened season, if one is even held.

“Whether that be athletes’ general fitness or their event specific techniques, it will definitely present some unique challenges to athletes and coaches. I also think it can lead to a dip in athletes’ performances from years past as well as increase the risk of injury if we are allowed to continue with a shortened season,” he said.

“We are also staying positive as a team in hopes of a return to school and track.  However, we are also prepared to face any adversity we may face through this difficult time with open minds, hearts and willingness to help the community in any way we can.”

Port softball coach Ben Navigato said he feels sorry for his athletes, especially his four seniors, Emma Uselding, Morgan Stone, Jaymie Neitzer and Keelie Schumacher.

“They’ve been a big part of our program when I took over three years ago. But we do have to be safe than sorry but it’s tough trying to tell them that there’s nothing we can do right now except wait,” he said.

“I’m hoping we can do a half season or something like that. That would be the best way to do it; give us some time to practice with the girls for at least a week and then go in and play.”

Grafton’s new softball coach Mike Bergmann said he expected the weather to wreak its typical havoc on the season but nothing like this.

Bergmann said he feels terrible for the  girls, especially the team’s six seniors.

“That’s the hardest part for me.  I’ll have a chance to be the coach at some point (even if it’s not this year), but those girls only have one chance at a senior season,” he said.

Weather had already impacted the Black Hawks’ season last fall. Installation of turf was stopped early due to a snowstorm last November. As a result, Bergmann said, it would have been a “tight fit” to be able to play on the new field this season but with the delay the field should be ready if and when the season starts.

“I keep trying to think of that as a small silver lining in this whole thing,” he said.

“Besides that, I’ve been staying in touch with the girls, trying to keep their spirits up.  We can’t do any sort of practices, but I’ve encouraged them to play catch with family members if they can or go and swing a bat on the nice-weather days.”

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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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