High-school basketball and baseball tournaments aren’t the only events affected by the coronavirus scare.
West Virginia’s state Archery in the Schools tournament has been canceled, too. Organizers said the event, which would have been held March 28 at Marshall University’s indoor football practice facility, will not be rescheduled.
Kayla Donathan, the Division of Natural Resources’ Archery in the Schools coordinator, said the tournament went from a “go” to a “no go” within a matter of days.
“We had been in pretty constant contact with the folks at Marshall,” she said. “They let us know that they were going to transition to online classes after spring break. We also had a lot of direction from the Cabell County Health Department. They were OK with the tournament at first, but as the situation evolved, they recommended we cancel it.”
Ultimately, the decision came down to numbers. With officials recommending that public gatherings be held to 50 people or fewer, the tournament was simply too large.
“We had 595 students coming in from 70 different schools around the state,” Donathan said. “When you add in the students’ parents and all the volunteers, this event can pull in 1,500 to 2,500 folks. Because of that, we could see it wasn’t in anyone’s best interest to hold the competition.”
The state tournament usually serves as a qualifier for the national Archery in the Schools tournament held in Louisville, Kentucky. On March 20, organizers of that tournament announced that it had been canceled as well.
Donathan said that even though the state tournament had to be canceled, about 130 West Virginia archers qualified for the nationals — which, now, they won't be able to compete in.
“Between Jan. 1 and March 2, we held a virtual qualifying tournament,” she explained. “Students had to submit scores from matches they competed in during that period.
“We went back, pulled up the qualifying scores, and considered them to be the scores at a ‘virtual state tournament.’ That way, they could go ahead to the nationals.”
Archery in the Schools national officials approved the virtual tournament and accepted the qualifying scores — not only for West Virginia, but also for other states in the same situation.
“All of the scores that qualified for our state tournament were also high enough to qualify for nationals, so it made sense for [AIS officials] to do that,” Donathan said. “The top team in each of our three divisions [elementary, middle school and high school] qualified, as did the top 10 male and female shooters from each division.”
Even though the qualifier counted as a virtual state tournament, Donathan said no physical state-tournament trophies or prizes will be handed out because there was no physical event. She expects West Virginia's archery activities to resume in the fall.
"We’re thankful for our staff and volunteers here in West Virginia, and we’re looking forward to holding a real state tournament next year,” she said.