A lost season: WIAA declares spring sports season won’t happen

The spring sports season is officially over — earlier and emptier than ever expected.

Following Gov. Jay Inslee’s proclamation that public and private schools will not be reopened before the end of the school year in June, the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association announced Monday night that school sports were over for the 2019-2020 school year.

“This will include all regular season contests and practices as well as all postseason tournaments and championship events,” the WIAA said in its announcement.

The WIAA is the governing body of athletic activities for secondary education schools in the state of Washington. The nonprofit reportedly consists of 860 members (410 high schools and 450 middle/junior high schools) both public and private, through which it organizes and oversees thousands of events (games, matches, tournaments, etc.) each year.

The association had previously said it had hoped that some kind of sporting events would be held when schools were previously planned to reopen in May.

Earlier Monday, the WIAA said it was reviewing the governor’s proclamation on the cancellation of all in-person instruction, and seeking clarification if that included sports.

Later Monday, association officials got the word it did.

“The WIAA has received clarification that the order issued by Governor Inslee on Monday includes the cancellation of all in-person extracurricular athletics and activities through the end of the school year,” the association said in its announcement.

“The decision was undoubtedly a difficult one for Governor Inslee. However, it was done so to keep the students and families of Washington safe,” the WIAA added. “The WIAA Executive Board and the WIAA Staff feel for those students around the state that have had their seasons or careers cut short. This terrible disease has not only prevented students from creating lifelong memories through competition, it has limited the valuable lessons gained through participation in education-based athletics and activities.

“The WIAA will continue to work with member schools around the state of Washington to navigate this unprecedented time. We have already seen some outstanding examples of athletic directors and coaches making the best of their situations and we know that work will continue,” the statement concluded.

At Bainbridge High, the spring sports season features the most games and competitors.

BHS athletes compete in baseball, boys soccer, cheer, fastpitch softball, tennis, and track-and-field, as well as club sports that include crew, boys and girls lacrosse, sailing, ultimate Frisbee, Gear Grinders (competitive mountain biking), and girls water polo.

The season started with practices Monday, March 2. But nearly all of the first games were cancelled in the following weeks, before Inslee ordered his first temporary closure of schools in mid-March.

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