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Local reaction to high school sports postponement

It was a difficult day.

It didn’t matter who you were or who you spoke to associated with high school athletics, they all seemed to feel a sting from an announcement they all hoped wouldn’t be on the way, yet weren’t exactly surprised it came.

On Monday it was announced that high school sports would be halted three weeks, effective immediately.

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That includes the ongoing fall sports such as football, volleyball and the girls swimming and diving finals, until at least Dec. 8.

Meanwhile, winter sports such as girls basketball practice began last week, with the boys teams scheduled to begin on Monday.

But that quickly changed after the state of Michigan’s orders. Here are some of the local reactions from coaches:

Richmond Cheer Coach Kelli Matthes

“Since the conclusion of our season last year, so much has been up in the air,” coach Matthes said. “Summer practices, then shut downs, then no football to a delayed season. Loss of conditioning time, injuries, all while moving forward trying to keep each other positive and moving forward.

“I am not surprised by the shutdown, I had a feeling this was coming but it doesn’t make it any easier. It’s tough. Tough on coaches, athletes, and families as a whole but the most important thing is everyone being safe and healthy. One day at a time and having gratitude for what we do have: each other! We WILL get through this TOGETHER no matter what “this” is or turns into being. We CAN and we WILL. ALL COACHES, ATHLETES, SCHOOLS and FAMILIES WE WILL SURVIVE and come out stronger in the end.”

Port Huron United boys and girls swim coach Aley McClung Minton

“Once again, swimming and diving is affected by the newly announced guidelines,” coach McClung Minton said. “For the end of the girls season, that means the end of season State Championship Meets are postponed at best.

“For the upcoming boys season who ended last school year’s season without the State Championships, it means that at a minimum we will have a delayed start. We were scheduled to begin the boys season on Monday, November 23rd. Now, we wait until December with hopes of being able to have a full and complete season.”

Mike McAndrews, Marine City Cardinal Mooney boys basketball coach

“The health and safety of my players is my No. 1 priority but I feel for our players and the athletes around the state,” McAndrews said. “The class of 2021 has had so many things taken from them and high school sports is such an important part of the high school experience for so many student athletes.

“I worry about the lasting effects this pandemic will have on athletes both physically and emotionally. I just pray that there is some way for all these kids to have some sort of a season.”

Marion Stewart, Port Huron High School boys basketball coach

“It’s something that I’ve seen coming since I work in the school system,” coach Stewart said. “It’s another hurdle that our players and coaches have to adjust to, which unfortunately our kids have become accustomed to. I think one good thing for us is that our players can get healed up from some bumps and bruises from football.

“About 80% of my basketball team plays football. I just hope this senior class gets to play basketball. They’ve helped our football team take some deep playoff runs, while also turning the basketball program around.”

Richmond boys basketball coach Josh Presnell

“Watching the numbers climb, I always felt like another shutdown was going to be a strong possibility,” Coach Presnell said. “It will be interesting to see if the MHSAA will delay the season any. It impacts our team a ton. We graduated eight seniors, so we were depending on the early practices to develop a familiarity with one another. Hopefully we will get some extra time before the season kicks off, if not we will do the best we can.”

Lance Campbell, Croswell-Lexington boys basketball coach

“Just trying to stay positive and hoping that after the three week pause all sports will resume,” coach Campbell said. “I know it’s hard for the kids but we as coaches have to try to stay positive and keep their minds focused on the season as soon as it resumes. I truly believe high school sports will be played again this year.”

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