TORRINGTON – High school sports are within a month of officially starting practice, but there are a lot of questions still surrounding what the fall sports season will look like.
Several surrounding states have already announced plans for the upcoming season, including the state of Nebraska’s plans to proceed on time and as normal.
The state of Wyoming took another step on Tuesday towards such a decision.
“There are a ton of what-ifs and questions with not a lot of answers,” Torrington High School athletic director Dave Plendle said.
All the athletic directors from around the state held a Zoom meeting with Wyoming High School Activities Association Commissioner Ron Laird in another step towards getting the season started on time.
“(The WHSAA) are working on a document with the state health department setting forth some guidelines,” Lingle-Fort Laramie Athletic Director Mike Lashley said. “(Laird) didn’t go into a lot of detail expect for the fact, as of right now (Wednesday) we are going to have fall sports start on time, as schedule.”
One of the main concerns of the state health officer Dr. Alexia Harrist is football.
“It sounds like they want to get started, and (Laird) said the only sport that Dr. Harrist was hung up on was football,” Southeast Athletic Director Tim Williams said. “They are going to meet with her again, hopefully, this week or next week and try to iron some of those things out.”
With all the unknowns it’s left the local athletic directors feeling frustrated on how they are to prepare for the upcoming school year.
There is a face-to-face meeting planned in Casper for Monday, Aug. 3, with all the athletic directors in where they hope to nail down any final issues and schedules heading into the start of practice for the upcoming season.
It doesn’t give school administrations much time to prepare for the season, but Lashley doesn’t see as if they have much of a choice.
“It’s a double-edged sword because, on one hand, we all want to know as soon as possible so we can start planning, but on the flip side, we want to make sure we have the most accurate information to make a decision on,” he said. “It’s a balancing act. We don’t know tons, but we do know it’s looking favorable to start on time.”
The other major hurdle yet to be crossed will be restrictions.
All three local athletic directors hope any restrictions put in place for the fall will be solidified at the Aug. 3 meeting.
“We’ll rework our schedules in a way to allow our kids to compete and keep them as safe as possible,” Williams said. “(Ron’s) take was if kids are in school, they should be allowed to compete in athletics.”
Plendl stressed the importance of the fan bases following any guidelines set by the state, county or school district.
“We are going to need them to be understanding with the instructions we are going to ask them to follow, whether they have a different belief, political view or whatever,” he said. “This is going to be a challenge for everyone.”
On the bright side, everyone seems to be on board and on the same page.
“They are on board with everything,” Lashley said. “I’m sure (Aug. 3), things will be nailed down a lot more clearly and everyone will have an idea where we stand in the state with COVID-19.”