Hoops, Grapplers, Cheer Remain on Hold
DETROIT – Jan. 22 - Governor Whitmer and MDHHS announced that Winter contact sports – including MHSAA activities in girls and boys basketball, competitive cheer, ice hockey and wrestling – must remain non-contact through Feb. 21. The previous emergency order was set to expire at the end of January and would’ve allowed those sports to begin contact activities Feb. 1.
“We found out about this decision at 9:30 a.m. like everyone else, and we will address it as quickly as possible after taking the weekend to collect more information,” said Mark Uyl, executive director of the Michigan High School Athletic Association. “We did not anticipate this delay in winter contact practices and competition, and today’s announcement has created many new questions.
“Obviously, this is disappointing to thousands of athletes who have been training with their teams over the last week and watching teams in other states around Michigan play for the last two months.”
The MHSAA stated they would have no other comments on today’s Governor/MDHHS announcements until early next week after more information has been gathered.
Newaygo Girls Coach Nate Thomasma and his team have been champing at the bit to get the season rolling. After all he was welcoming back nearly every member of the team that burned through district play then took down highly rated (and much taller) GR Christian before missing out on a facedown with (also highly rated) West Catholic for the Regional crown.
The Lions, now a veteran team with a slew of weaponry on both sides of the ball figured on a belated start when the pandemic began to shut down sports.
But with the opening game kicked back to February 21?
Last February 21st the Lions had just dropped their third contest in a row in their 18th game.
It was, by the way, their last loss of the season so technically they’ve been undefeated for a year.
“Very disappointed in the news we received today,” said Thomasma. “The most frustrating part is that no clear data has been given to why we are not allowed to play. The state of Michigan owes the players and families that.
"We'll continue as is and wait for the MHSAA to respond early next week."
Over in Fremont, Boys Coach Pete Zerfas saw his team's season come to an early end on the cusp of a District Final revenge game against the Comstock Park team that knocked them from the tourney the previous year.
This year the Pack was poised to compete for the title that eluded them last year in a season that looks to be their CSAA swan song and Zerfas shared Thomasma’s frustration at the lack of communication.
"I was completely taken by surprise by the news of no contact sports for 3 more weeks, It was just another blow to our kids who don't get to fully participate in the sport they love until at least Feb 21.
“Science has shown both in football here in Michigan and basketball in surrounding states that it is safe for kids to play. We have not been given a reason by our governor as to why she extended the pause further because I don't think there is a good reason.
“My total focus now, more than ever is the mental health of our athletes, try to stay positive and be as ready as we can when we are finally allowed to play the sport we and so many love to play.”