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High school sports return to action

By Staff | Aug 23, 2020

McKenna Dutton is one the seniors returning from last year's State qualifying team.

Practices began last Monday, Aug. 17, for those Blue Earth Area students participating in cross country and girls tennis. But, make no mistake, things will be different due to COVID-19.

“The last thing I wanted to do today was come out here and lecture you about what you can and cannot do,” BEA activities director Rob Norman told the girls tennis team at their first practice. “But the reality is we have to do things a little different. But we also get to have a season and that is something to be excited about.”

Norman had addressed the cross country team earlier in the morning.

“These are the things we have to do,” tennis coach Konny Wolff said to her tennis team regarding a list of protocols the team has to follow during practice and meets. “And if it means we get to play tennis, we will do them.”

While the Minnesota State High School League (MSHL) approved having the fall sports of girls tennis and cross country, the seasons will be shorter and the competitions will be different.

Arika Howard prepares to return a ball during tennis practice. The BEA team has its first meet on Monday, Aug. 24, against New Ulm at Schroeder Courts in Blue Earth.

Only dual matches will be allowed in tennis. Teams will not be able to participate in invitational tournaments as they have in the past years.

“We only have something like 11 matches this year,” Wolff explained. “Normally we would have close to that many matches in by the end of the first week with all the invites we would be participating in.”

The schedule for tennis this year will match BEA against teams from the east side of the Big South Conference.

The matter of post-season play is still up in the air.

“The MSHL has said there will be some kind of culminating event,” Norman commented. “The athletic directors are pushing for section tournaments and a state tournament. Even if we had to hold those tournaments without fans it would give teams a chance to see how they measured up against other teams.”

The girls open with a home meet against New Ulm on Monday, Aug. 24, at 4:30 p.m.

The cross country season will see some changes also. Like tennis, the cross country season will also be shorter and events will be limited to only three teams so the big invitational tournaments will not be held this year.

Varsity football and volleyball seasons have been moved to the spring of 2021.

Seventh and eighth grade volleyball practice will begin in September. Eighth graders have their first day of practice Sept. 8. The seventh graders start two days later, on Sept. 10. Practices will be held every day except Wednesdays.

If school is in a hybrid session, the students in school that day will be allowed to practice.

There will be no competitions with other schools, but skills will be taught and intra-squad competitions will be held.

It is a similar situation for seventh and eighth grade football.

There will be no competitions with teams from other schools. Instead, intra-squad competitions will be held. The first day of practice for the eighth grade is Sept. 8 and the seventh graders begin practice on Sept. 10. Practices will end Oct. 14.

Although the varsity football and volleyball seasons have been moved to spring, the MSHL is allowing a three-week period where the two sports can hold practices. The three-week period will be from Sept. 14-Oct. 3.

The dates for the spring seasons of volleyball and football have yet to be determined.

Check the BEA school website for the latest information regarding this year’s sports’ schedules.