WVSSAC announces calendar changes to winter, spring sports
By Chapin Jewell
“You ain’t seen the las’ of Ernest T. Bass.” For those familiar with the Andy Griffith Show, you’ll remember these words spoken by the colorful, mischievous, rock-breaking mountain man who introduced himself with the words, “Howdy do to you and you. It’s me, it’s me, it’s Ernest T.”
What does this have to do with high school sports in Mineral County and the Mountain State in general you may be asking? Well, it’s just our way of saying that Gov. Justice has spoken yet again and made changes to the changes that were made to the changes to the calendar associated with the commencement of high school sports in the state of West Virginia.
When Gov. Justice makes these changes, so to does the WVSSAC, the organization directly responsible for overseeing scholastic sports. The reference to Ernest T. Bass and not seeing the las’ is just our way of saying that we will once again present to you the changes that have been made to the high school sports calendar, but don’t be surprised, as has happened twice already this year, if the Governor speaks again and makes more changes that the WVSSAC will have to react to.
What follows is the latest with respect to what we know as of press time for this edition of the Mineral News-Tribune. Things change and change quickly in this COVID-impacted world we live in. All it takes is one or two lines uttered at a press conference for “the best laid plans o’ mice and men” to be uprooted.
In fact, as you read this article today, Mineral County students, on a rotating A or B schedule platform, have returned to in-person instruction, something that was not necessarily in the cards a few short weeks ago.
As it stands currently, winter sports practice can begin on Monday, Feb. 15, 2021. Winter sports in West Virginia include both boys’ and girls’ basketball, swimming and wrestling. In Mineral County, there is no school-sanctioned swimming, so for us, this means boys’ and girls’ basketball and wrestling practice can begin on Monday, Feb. 15.
Although the winter sports season will be condensed with the later start, the requirement to get in at least 14 practice sessions before games can be played will still apply.
Girls’ basketball games and wrestling matches can be played beginning Wednesday, Mar. 3. Boys’ basketball games can be played beginning Friday, Mar. 5.
Girls’ basketball sectionals will begin Saturday, Apr. 10 and run through Saturday, Apr. 17. Girls’ basketball regionals for class AAA (Keyser) will be held Tuesday, Apr. 20. Girls’ basketball regionals for class AA (Frankfort) will be held Thursday, Apr. 21. The girls’ basketball state tournament in Charleston will be held the week of Apr. 27 to May 1.
Boys’ basketball sectionals will begin Saturday, Apr. 17 and run through Saturday, Apr. 24. Boys’ basketball regionals for class AAA (Keyser) will be held Tuesday, Apr. 20. Boys’ basketball regionals for class AA (Frankfort) will be held Thursday, Apr. 27. The boys’ basketball state tournament in Charleston will be held the week of May 4 to May 8.
Wrestling regionals will be held Saturday, Apr. 10. The state wrestling tournament has been broken up so that class A/AA (Keyser and Frankfort) will be held in Huntington on Wednesday, Apr. 21 and Thursday, Apr. 22. The class AAA state tournament will be held in Huntington on Friday, April 23 and Saturday, April 24.
It is particularly of note that spring sports in the Mountain State, which in Mineral County includes baseball, softball, boys’ and girls’ tennis, and boys’ and girls’ track and field, can begin practice as early as Monday, Mar. 15. This means that there will substantial overlap with winter sports and spring sports.
This overlap, which always exists but not quite to this extent, will present a multitude of decisions to be made between student-athletes and coaches in terms of practice and game availability. Obviously, a spirit of cooperation will have to exist between all involved for these situations to work themselves out.
With practice for spring sports beginning Mar. 15, competition (games, matches, and meets) in spring sports can begin Monday, Apr. 12.
Baseball and softball sectionals will be played Monday, May 31 through Saturday, June 12. Baseball and softball regionals will be played Monday, June 14 through Saturday, June 19. The state baseball tournament will be held in Charleston on Thursday, June 24 to Saturday, June 26. The state softball tournament will be held in South Charleston on Tuesday, June 22 and Wednesday, June 23.
Boys’ and girls’ tennis regionals will begin Monday, May 24 and will run all week. The state tennis tournament is Thursday, June 3 through Saturday, June 5 in Charleston.
Boys’ and Girls’ Track regionals in class AA (Frankfort and Keyser) will be held Thursday, June 3. The state track and field meet for class AA will be held in Charleston on Thursday, June 10, as each of the three classes will have their state meet held on separate days.
So, this is the current state of things. All of this is contingent also on the health matrix as a school and team must not be in the red to participate. There of course is also the possibility that a positive test and subsequent exposure can result in individual or even possibly team quarantines.
At least there is a plan, particularly for winter sports. In neighboring Allegany County, Maryland, they have already announced the cancellation of winter sports and that appears to be the same for Garrett County, Maryland.
The questions is, “Have we heard the las’ of Ernest T. Bass?”