Cavin Mohrhardt called Thursday’s decision by the MHSAA to postpone its winter sports tournaments “unprecedented.”
“Never has anything like this happened in the 35 years I’ve been doing sports,” said Mohrhardt, Spring Lake’s athletic director. “But we’re just a microcosm of everything else. When you see the NBA and the NCAA doing things, you know the state associations are going to do the same thing. You knew it was going to happen, you just didn’t know on what level.”
The state’s swimming and diving, hockey and gymnastics state finals were scheduled for Friday and Saturday, March 13-14.
Girls basketball regional tournament finals were scheduled for Thursday, March 12, while the boys basketball district tournament championship games were to be played Friday, March 13.
Thursday morning, the MHSAA released a press release saying that the swimming, hockey and gymnastics finals would take place without fans in the stands. At basketball games, the association was limiting each team to 50 fans.
Around 2:30 p.m., a new update postponed all winter sports tournaments, effective immediately.
Grand Haven was scheduled to host Muskegon in the boys Class A basketball district final Friday evening.
Grand Haven athletic director Scott Robertson spent the early part of Thursday spreading the word that access to Friday’s game would be severely limited. Then word came down that the games wouldn’t be played at all.
“On a personal level, I feel like airing on the side of caution to protect kids is paramount,” Robertson said Thursday afternoon. “But it’s a real bummer this is what the state tournament is going to look like for kids – not just basketball but swimmers as well. It’s unprecedented.
“It’s disappointing, but at the same time, I completely understand. If by doing this we prevent one person from getting sick or worse, it will have been completely worth it.
“That’s the biggest challenge is changing our mindset.”
All of Grand Haven’s winter middle school sporting events have been canceled; the season was already over for Spring Lake middle school teams.
Tryouts and practices for high school spring sports began Monday, March 9. Mohrhardt said those practices are going on as scheduled.
The Lakers’ first scheduled spring competition is a boys lacrosse game on Wednesday, March 18.
“From what I understand, the MHSAA will come out Monday with a plan for what they’re going to do for the rest of the tournaments and the spring,” Mohrhardt said.
“I’ve got a great deal of trepidation what this could mean for our spring sports,” Robertson added. “The precedence being set by the NHL, the NCAA, the NBA, all those multi-billion dollar industries shutting down makes you wonder where we’re going to be in another month.
“My hope from a public health standpoint is that this is under control, if such a thing exists, and we can let kids do the activities that they so enjoy, but I’m feeling less and less optimistic by the day.”