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Granville coaches react to COVID-19 shutdown of spring sports

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CREEDMOOR The coronavirus will wipe out at least three weeks of the spring sports schedule, as mandated by the N.C. High School Athletic Association.

All interscholastic sports, games and practices were suspended effective March 13.

Que Tucker, Commissioner of the NCHSAA, said that this situation could change day to day, but she projected that the suspension would last through Monday, April 6.

Granville Central baseball coach Barry Moore’s team was off to a great start — and then the suspension of play hit like a ton of bricks.

The Panthers picked up wins over Vance County, Vance Charter Schools, Kerr-Vance Academy and Durham School of the Arts. Granville Central was prepared to start conference play on March 17, but the suspension of play will prevent that from happening.

Moore hopes April 6 will be the end of the suspension and start of a new season. Moore said, “Guess we’ll just play it by ear and hope for the best,” Moore said.

Kate Wright, Athletic Director for Falls Lake Academy was likewise disappointed.

“Our middle school and high school conferences will be meeting to discuss procedures and possible future plans,” Wright said. “I want all of my FLA student-athletes to know that while I wholeheartedly support the NCHSAA’s decisions for our safety and health, I am disappointed for my spring athletes and especially my seniors. I’ll do whatever I can to get us playing again this year when it is appropriate.”

The announcement affected the high school girls and boys basketball state championships for the 1A, 2A, 3A and 4A divisions. Those state title games were supposed to be played March 14.

But the pandemic hit just as springs sports got underway. Soccer, baseball, softball, golf and other pursuits are halted.

As the number of COVID-19 cases in North Carolina grows, officials are increasingly saying the date that sports will resume is all but certain. If the delay to spring sports is extended, Tucker said schools may have to play games in the summer. That includes state playoffs and state championships for spring athletics.

“This is one of the strangest things we’ve ever had to encounter,” said Granville Central soccer coach Gregg George. “My team met after the game on Thursday, March 12, and talked about what was going on. I basically told them to take care of themselves and right now focus on the classroom.

“As much as I would like to continue practicing and playing games, everyone’s safety is more important. I’m sure the athletic directors and coaches will come up with a plan for April 6 if we are allowed to restart the season but until then we are kind of just in stand by.”

South Granville softball has not stepped foot on the field for a regular season game, but coach Jackie Day will not dwell on that; he said he will just move forward with very positive thoughts.

“As much as I support the NCHSAA, my heart aches for our athletes, especially the seniors,” Day said. “In all my years of coaching I have never experienced anything like this, nor have our athletes. I am sure the athletes are as devastated as I am.

“How do we move forward? The first priority is to stay healthy. Although we can’t workout as a team, I encourage the athletes to stay positive and get as many cuts, ground balls and fly balls in as they can until April 6. If the suspension is lifted there is time to get conference play completed and move forward from there.

“I have said many times over, as long as things are going smoothly, everything is fine, but when you meet adversity you will find out just how strong your team culture really is”

Day added: “Our team is resilient and strong-willed. I am positive they will adapt and conquer the obstacles in front of them. They will be ready, it’s all about trust.”