GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - The FHSAA has officially canceled spring high school sports for the 2020 season.
Monday's announcement from the Gainesville headquarters comes in the wake of Governor Ron DeSantis' mandate to close schools for the remainder of the 2019-2020 year.
Baseball, softball, boys weightlifting, lacrosse, tennis, track and field, and flag football are affected in Northwest Florida, with water polo and boys volleyball cut short elsewhere.
"The safety of our student-athletes, coaches, officials, and fans is our top priority," the FHSAA statement reads. "With the evolving threat of the CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19), we must ensurethat we do not contribute to the spread of this illness. We are deeply saddened for our student-athletes who have seen their seasons and/or high school careers end so abruptly.
"To all our senior student-athletes, we thank you for dedicating your time and efforts to your school, your coaches, and your teammates. Cherish the memories you have made and embrace all that the future holds for you. While we are saddened that you are unable to compete this season, we could not be prouder to have been represented by such hard-working individuals."
No additional eligibility will be granted for spring sport athletes.
State title contenders like Bozeman baseball—10-0 and ranked first in 1A by MaxPreps—didn't need to see each other in person today to relay the disappointment.
"If nothing else they are learning how to deal with adversity in life," head coach Jeff Patton said. "We talk about all the time in the baseball program: things are going to happen that you can’t always control and you do the best you can to deal with them. That’s part of growing up and being responsible. I hate it for them. They are learning how to deal with some adversity and hopefully they can use it as a springboard for things when tough times happen in the future.”
Blountstown baseball was 7-3 when the shutdown occurred.
"They kind of knew in their gut that we probably wouldn’t go back and I was trying to prep them for that a little bit too," head coach Emory Horne said. "They seem to be handling it probably a little better than I am. I feel so bad for these guys. The kids are resilient. They bounce back pretty easy, but I sure hate it for them. I want them to get going and get some normalcy back in their lives.”
Perennial postseason contender Mosley, who has made the Final Four three of the last four seasons, was 8-2 when play stopped.
"It’s emotional because these guys have worked as hard as the guys did last year. It’s their turn," head coach Jon Hudson said. "Sometimes at Mosley you have to wait three or four years to be a starter. For some of those seniors, it was their time to shine and be on the forefront and so that is disappointing. It’s really emotional for me with those guys. It’s not easy."
NewsChannel 7 will catch up with coaches and athletes from every sport in the coming days.
To nominate athletes (or yourself) for our Sports Senior Spotlight, send pictures and a video telling us what you miss and love most about your sport to email@example.com.
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