FMHS, HTC officials say state associations calling all the shots based on safety and health of students
BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – With all sports activities on hold by state high school governing agencies, local school activity directors are holding out some hope for at least half of a spring sports season.
Fort Madison Activities Director Jeremy Swink said he’s taking all his cues from the officials at the Iowa High School Athletic Association for boys, and the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union. But right now he says everything is hands-off.
Swink is also the Fort Madison girls tennis coach, a program shared with Holy Trinity Catholic students.
“To be honest with you, were taking guidance from state associations. The last we’ve heard, we’re still shutdown in four weeks. That would put us at April 13 as things sit right now,” he said.
“We’re going to plan on going full force ahead on that day if that holds, but with the the realities of what’s transpiring, I don’t know how promising that date is.”
Swink said the state has made coaches completely hands off with spring sports activities, but nothing is stopping the athletes from going out to a tennis court or the track on their own.
“If I’ve got girls that coordinate amongst themselves, there’s nothing I can do to stop them, but I can’t direct them to do anything,” Swink said.
“Coaches can communicate with kids on updates from the associations from where things are at, but they are not to be coordinating anything.”
Holy Trinity Catholic Activities Director John Goetz said golf and track really don’t get going until right after the Easter holiday, which is April 12.
“In golf we could still have a good month. The boys sectional isn’t until May 15 and the girls start regionals on the 18th,” Goetz said. “We would have a month, but not being able to get out help the kids is will put a damper on that. Our teams were going to be pretty young and experienced.”
Goetz said the suspension of activities impacts the girls and boys golf teams that he coaches. The school’s girls soccer team and junior high soccer and track are all impacted as well.
At Fort Madison, boys and girls track, boys and girls tennis, boys and girls soccer and golf are all affected by the suspension of play. This is the first year that the boys soccer program is a shared effort with Holy Trinity Catholic.
Swink said the start date for softball and baseball is May 4 and that’s still the state associations’ plans.
“Hopefully we get some of the spring sports season in and have opportunities for summer sports,” Swink said. “I really feel for the seniors, this is their last season. I really would hope that something happens for them.”
But he said starting the season at the halfway point would have an impact on skill development, but not on competition level because everyone would be going through the same situation.
“We just have to play the hand we’re dealt and worry about the things that are in our control… and at this point, we don’t have a lot of control,” he said.
“If we’re given the opportunity to play, we’ll make it happen.”
Goetz was of the same thought and said everything has to be done in the best interest of safety and health.
“It’s just we’re in limbo. We just have to do what’s best for the kids and keep everybody safe,” Goetz said.