OHSAA Cancels All Winter Sports Tournaments

By: 
JAKE DOWLING
Sports Editor

The 2019-2020 winter sports state tournaments and boys basketball regional tournament has been canceled for the rest of the season, according to Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) in a press release on Thursday.

The winter sports state tournaments include girls basketball, hockey and wrestling and boys basketball was in the regional tournament in the initial announcement to postpone the season was made earlier this month.

“We are just devastated that the tournaments cannot be completed,” said OHSAA Executive Director Jerry Snodgrass. “But our priority is the safety of our student-athletes, coaches, communities and officials. 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. Most campuses are shut down until mid to late summer."

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. The 672 student-athletes who qualified for the wrestling state tournament will all receive a program, certificate and their weigh-in card.

“We are already planning for ways that these student-athletes will be honored at next year’s state tournament," Snodgrass added.

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.
 
Thursday's announcements mark the first time since World War II (1941-45) that sports events were canceled in the history of the OHSAA, which was founded in 1907. However, boys basketball and wrestling were not canceled during those years. The girls basketball state tournament was first held in 1976 and the ice hockey state tournament was first held in 1978.

There is no word if spring sports will receive the same fate. As of now, the OHSAA is planning to start the spring sports season on April 11 after mandatory practices or, if needed, an acclimatization period from April 6-10. Those dates are set tentatively.

While unprecedented, the decision was essentially inevitable as coronavirus (COVID-19) concerns continue with the climb of confirmed cases in the state of Ohio and comments from Gov. Mike DeWine throughout the daily press conferences that the school year may be canceled.  

Local athletes were to compete at the state tournaments this month.

St. Marys twins Trevor and Tyler Hisey qualified for state wrestling, marking the first time two St. Marys wrestlers qualified for state in the same season since 1990 when Gabe Orick and Bob Nedderman both qualified that season. Senior Tommy Mabry was a state alternate for a second straight season.

The Minster girls basketball team was about to make its third straight trip to Columbus. The back-to-back Division IV state champions were set to play against Beverly Fort Frye. The team received word that the tournament was postponed on its way to Columbus March 12.

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. The OHSAA sent out a reminder that coaches can communicate electronically with their student-athletes, but no practices, scrimmages or contests of any kind are permitted until further notice.