GOSHEN — The Indiana High School Athletic Association announced Wednesday that practice for fall sports is on schedule to begin Friday for girls golf and Monday for all other fall sports.
Athletic events are also on schedule to begin on time with girls golf matches starting Monday, all other fall sports except football on Aug. 15 and football on Aug. 21.
This is all part of a three-phase plan announced by the governor. Elkhart County has been in Phase 1.5 while most of the state is in Phase 2.
“Things are looking pretty optimistic,” Goshen Athletic Director Larry Kissinger said. “It looks like we are going to Phase 2 for all sports except football. Practices for all other sports will start to look more normal. Coaches will be able to do a lot more teaching. We will still be maintaining social distance when possible and masks need to be worn when athletes are not involved in vigorous activities.
“We have not had any positive cases here at Goshen. We feel like we can move forward while still being cautious.”
Goshen will be hosting a girls golf invitational Monday at Black Squirrel Golf Club. Schools joining the host RedHawks are Concord, Elkhart, Fairfield, Lakeland, Mishawaka and Mishawaka Marian.
Under normal circumstances, the No. 1 players from four schools would play the round together as would the No. 2 and so on. According to Kissinger the plan for Monday is to have the players from each school grouped together to limit the contact with girls from other schools.
Raider AD Dave Harms is also optimistic about the current situation.
“Each coach has turned in a plan as to how they want to proceed in their sport,” Harms said. “We are going to proceed on that basis until we are to told differently.”
While there is some optimism, Harms also knows things can change in a hurry.
“It doesn’t help our situation that Illinois announced today they will not be having a fall sports season,” he said. “My thinking is that the IHSAA doesn’t want to take the responsibility for making the decision of whether or not we have a fall season. I feel they want the governor to make that decision.”
Northridge has the added pressure of having new athletic facilities and not knowing if they are going to be able to use them this fall.
“Right now we can’t even get in the locker rooms,” Harms said. “In football, for example, if we can use the new locker rooms, all a player could do is use the locker to store his helmet and shoulder pads. Everything else players are supposed to take home every day and have it washed.”
Panther AD Norm Sellers was excited about the IHSAA’s announcement.
“This is what we have been waiting for. We wanted our kids to have the chance to compete in fall sports,” he said. “I am proud of our coaches here at NorthWood for doing what they needed to do to keep things on track. Area athletic directors and coaches have done a lot of work to make this happen. It looks like it is going to happen. Now we have to keep following the rules to make sure it does.”
Football for the present time will be treated differently than the rest of the fall sports.
“We are going to have to come up with some kind of hybrid plan for football,” Sellers said. “We are going to have to find ways of limiting contact. If the defense wants to have a meeting it is going to be virtual. We are going to try and follow the procedures we have had in place and that have been working so far.”