Coaches Feel Shocked, Disappointed

By: 
JAKE DOWLING & SETH KINKER
Sports Editor & Community Post Staff Writer

One day student-athletes and coaches are gearing up for their respected state tournaments.

The next day, their season is over. 

That’s the feeling for Trevor and Tyler Hisey, who, like many around the state, found out on Thursday that the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) postponed its winter sports tournaments, which include girls and boys basketball, wrestling and hockey.

St. Marys assistant wrestling coach and the father of the Hisey brothers Tim Hisey said in a text message on Thursday that the boys were upset, saying that Trevor felt just like that, their season was over.

On Saturday, the Hiseys qualified for the Division II state tournament, marking the first time since 1990 that the St. Marys wrestling program had two state qualifiers in the same season. Senior Tommy Mabry was a state alternate for the second straight year.

“It means a lot to our family and all the work that we have put in over the last eight years of wrestling to now get to go to Columbus,” Tyler added on Saturday.

But on Tuesday, the OHSAA, in recommendation of Gov. Mike DeWine, announced that because of the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) there would be a limited amount of spectators allowed to attend the state and boys basketball regional tournaments to just immediate family members of student-athletes and coaches. Then on Thursday, the OHSAA made an unprecedented move by indefinitely postponing the state tournaments while schools around the state are directed to close after the school day on Monday.

Hisey added that he nor his sons knew if the state wrestling tournament would be rescheduled, but said if it is, his boys would be ready with the yearlong training they do.

While the release from the OHSAA stated s no timetable had been determined for a possible rescheduling of tournaments, Minster girls basketball coach Mike Wiss and Fort Loramie coach Carla Siegel expressed doubt that the state tournament would continue with the way things had played out. 

Both schools were to play Thursday in the Division IV girls basketball state tournament in Columbus and could have very well played each other in Saturday’s state final.

Now all of that is in doubt.

Both teams had left Minster and Fort Loramie on Thursday morning after send-offs from both communities that started in the schools and included the village’s residents as well. The Minster girls basketball team left around noon and were close to Jackson Center when they found out.

“I was actually looking at the OHSAA (twitter),” said Wiss. “Saw [OHSAA Executive Director] Jerry Snodgrass in a conference. [I] saw the tweet [saying] things would be cancelled. I heard some talking in the back of the bus, told the bus driver, ‘keep going, we don’t know anything for certain until the school calls.’ Inside of the next three ti four minutes, it got really quiet in the back of the bus and [the coaching staff and I] looked at each other and said, ‘they know.’ Just about that time the school called. We got to Jackson Center and turned around.”

Once the Fort Loramie bus left the village, Siegel collected everyone’s phones.

“Ironically that was probably the best move I’ve made all season as a coach,” Siegel said.

After arriving in Marysville to grab a bite to eat around 12:30 p.m., Siegel got word that the games would be postponed indefinitely. Siegel and her staff told the team on the bus after what could’ve likely been their last team meal together.

“It was very hard, lots of sadness and tears,” said Siegel. “Told the girls they had an amazing season. Two hours ago, I thought there was a possibility they might play it on a Monday or Tuesday with no spectators but with the NCAA canceling the tournament I don’t see how the OHSAA can supersede that. I told them how great they were. Undefeated. All the records they set as a team, scoring, defense, free-throw shooting, three-point shooting, assists as a team, steals as a team. They accomplished so much as a team and I’m so proud of them. It was a tough conversation.”

To read the full story, see Friday's print edition of The Evening Leader.