If high school athletes playing for a program in Flagstaff want to stay sharp while they await the possible return of spring season sports, they'll have to get creative in the workouts they'll do away from their teams.
The Arizona Interscholastic Association announced Monday that the prep spring sports schedule would be suspended until Monday, March 30, at the earliest, and that decisions regarding practices and workouts would be at the discretion of the schools and districts. Schools in the city of Flagstaff decided that they will not be allowing team practices during the pause in high school athletics.
“Currently everything has been suspended for the next two weeks, so that means no competitions, and we will not be having practice," said Jeannine Brandel, athletic director at Flagstaff High School and president of the AIA executive board.
Brandel added on Tuesday that her decision is consistent across the state of Arizona. She said on Monday, major districts met and agreed they will not be allowing team practices at this time.
“I have spoken with several of the bigger districts -- Chandler, Mesa, Glendale, Phoenix Union, all of those -- and they have opted to cancel practices. They will address that decision again at the end of next week, but for now there is no practice," she said.
But that doesn't mean student-athletes can't work on their game and stay fit.
“Now if a track athlete wants to run and do workouts on their own, they can," Brandel said.
Eric Freas, athletic director and trainer at Coconino High School, said some of his coaches have been emailing workouts to their athletes in addition to trying to utilize other digital formats. He said using the school's equipment, however, is off-limits.
“They have communicated with the kids the best they can by online or on the phone about what best workouts they can do," Freas said.
Mike Elder, athletic director at Northland Prep Academy, said he's concerned about what happens if the spring season resumes, addressing scheduling and qualifying issues surrounding the postseason.
The AIA requires a program to play a certain amount of regular-season games in order to qualify for a state tournament. For instance, beach volleyball teams must play a minimum of 11 regular-season matches to be eligible for postseason play, and baseball teams outside the 1A Conference must play a minimum of 14 games to qualify.
So Elder questions if the AIA postseason requirements will change if the season picks back up. He also wonders how track athletes will get their qualifying marks for the postseason considering so many track meets have been postponed or canceled.
"Let’s see how we are allowed to compete at the end of this hiatus," Elder said.
Mike Hartman can be reached at 556-2255 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @AZDS_Hartman.
“They have communicated with the kids the best they can by online or on the phone about what best workouts they can do."
-- Eric Freas, Coconino High School athletic director, on how his coaches are working with players during the coronavirus hiatus
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