Championship events for West Virginia high school winter and spring sports now have a new schedule after the Secondary School Activities Commission released a second revised calendar on Wednesday. Winter sports have not even started yet around the state due to COVID-19.
One item of note in the new calendar is a good bit of overlap involving winter and spring sports.
Winter sports finally begin on Feb. 15 with preseason practice for boys and girls basketball, wrestling and swimming. Practice for spring sports is scheduled to start exactly one month later, on March 15, for baseball, softball, track and tennis. When spring sports practices begin, all four winter sports will still have more than month remaining in their seasons, as swimming (now April 20-21) is the first winter sport to hold its championship event. Wrestling is scheduled for two sessions (Class AAA, April 21-22 and AA-A, April 23-24), followed by girls basketball (April 27-May 1) and boys basketball (May 4-8).
That means many athletes who compete in both winter and spring sports will either have to choose which sport to practice during that time frame, or double up on their practice sessions.
This is the second calendar revision by the SSAC, which in early December issued its first set of calendar changes due to the pandemic.
Bernie Dolan, executive director of the SSAC, said that despite the delays, there have been no issues at present with keeping the same venues for state championship events. Those sites include the Charleston Coliseum (girls and boys basketball), Mountain Health Arena in Huntington (wrestling), the Aquatic Center at Mylan Park in Morgantown (swimming), Appalachian Power Park in Charleston (baseball), Little Creek Park in South Charleston (softball) and University of Charleston Stadium (track). Tennis in past years has been split between the Schoenbaum Courts in Charleston, Coonskin Park and Charleston Catholic’s courts, and two of those sites will likely be used this year.
Two more sports will have their championship events split as officials try to limit the amount of people in a venue at one time. Wrestling, listed above, is one and track is the other, now being staged over three days instead of two. The Class A state track meet is set for June 10, AA on June 11 and AAA on June 12. Volleyball was staged one classification at a time over three different days in November.
Two spring sports saw no date changes for their title events from the first revisions, as tennis remains June 3-5 and baseball June 24-26.
The state cheerleading championships, postponed from their originally scheduled date in December, have been tentatively reset for March 20 at the Charleston Coliseum.
Dolan also expects attendance limitations once statewide prep sports resume on March 3 with the debut of winter sports.
“I would imagine it will start out being similar to fall [sports],’’ Dolan said. “Probably not open to the general public.’’
Attendance at fall sports was determined by each county’s status in the state’s color-coded risk factor map.