Senior girls soccer is a major casualty of a B.C. School Sports decision to suspend the spring season until further notice. (Progress file photo)

Chilliwack high school athletes impacted by spring sports shutdown

Shutting down spring sports is a tough pill to swallow for Grade 12 athletes in particular.

B.C. School Sports officially suspended all school sporting activities on Tuesday in a memorandum to school athletic directors.

The spring season is a big one for athletes who specialize in track and field, women’s soccer, rugby, badminton, golf, and tennis, among others.

“… In the interest of student-athlete safety, [BCSS] has suspended all school sport-related activities including training, practices, jamborees, scrimmages, matches and similar inter and intra-school sport activities,” reads the memo. “Due to the speed at which things are changing, we will evaluate the situation moving forward, and determine the ability to safely offer a spring season of play at a later date.”

Jake Mouritzen, athletic director at GW Graham and athletic director for the Chilliwack School District, says it was the only move that could be made as the COVID-19 crisis continues to evolve.

“It was expected,” Mouritzen said. “It’ll be interesting to see what they do at the college/university level because there’s talk of giving athletes another level of eligibility.

READ MORE: B.C. declares a state of emergency

READ MORE: Chilliwack mayor stands by ‘no confirmed cases’ statement

“At the high school and amateur sport levels it’s just going to be shut ‘er down.”

Sports being disrupted at this time of year include rugby and girls soccer.

An idea has been floated about bringing some sports back in June, but Mouritzen feels that’s very unlikely.

“My gut says it’s all done and we’re going to see a full shut down,” he said. “But I don’t think anyone knows.

“A lot of people have given an April 15 date (for making decisions), but I think that’s more an opportunity to breathe and see what happens.”

As far as impact on athletes, there’s concern that cancellations will impact recruiting. Sardis secondary’s senior girls soccer team has made a habit of sending players on to university programs.

Sardis soccer coach Richard Tagle says three graduating players have already signed with university programs: Breanne Weflen and Jo Gemmel at Trinity Western University and Melissa Palmer at the University of the Fraser Valley.

But without a spring season to impress next-level coaches, will other Grade 12 players miss an opportunity?

“I’ve had lots of contact with university coaches who are trying to do what they can with recruiting,” Mouritzen noted. “Unfortunately, for a lot of kids in Grade 12, it’s going to be based on their body of work up to this point.

“Universities will have to communicate with high school and community coaches, because I don’t see it coming back anytime soon.

“And again, in the bigger picture, there’s not much else we can do.”

Big picture, Mouritzen says lots of people use sports as an escape and a way to get through tough times.

“That’s a hard thing not being able to use sports as an escape, because there is no escape right now.”

“All we can do right now is stay hopeful and optimistic that we can get to a place where things start back up.”

Even in a dark time, Mouritzen was able to find a bit of humour though.

His GW Graham Grizzlies won a provincial basketball title a couple weeks ago, the last major sports event that took place before the COVID-19 crisis exploded.

“I think that means that we are world champions,” Mouritzen said with a laugh. “We are the last basketball championship that happened right?

“I am extremely grateful that we were able to get that in before everything shut down.”


@ProgressSports
eric.welsh@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CoronavirusHigh School Sports

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Police seek suspects allegedly using counterfeit cash at Hope gas station

RCMP say the two suspects attempted to pay with 100 and 50 dollar bills

Truck company hands out thousands of free lunches to truck drivers with local stop in Chilliwack

International Trucks is at 50 fuel stop locations across North America giving away free meals

COLUMN: Let’s avoid public shaming amid a dynamic health crisis

What is unacceptable today might have been fine last week

UFV student nurses offering respite to frontline nurses, care aides

Website helping to match volunteers with those who need help with daily errands

VIDEO: Head-on collision on Chilliwack Mountain Road

Road blocked in both directions Thursday morning

Trudeau rejects mandatory stay-at-home order for now; COVID deaths up

The virus has now infected more than 10,000 Canadians and cost 130 their lives

B.C. health officer says homemade masks may prevent spread of COVID-19 to others

Practising physical distancing, frequent hand washing and resisting touching your face are proven methods

B.C.’s senior home staff measures show results in COVID-19 battle

Dr. Bonnie Henry’s order restricts care aides to one facility

‘A matter of human decency’: Truckers’ union calls on gas stations, rest stops to fully re-open

Teamsters Canada wants feds, provinces to put pressure on facilities to re-open for transport workers

B.C. unveils $3.5M COVID-19 emergency fund for post-secondary students

Money will help students cover living expenses, food, travel, portable computers

‘We will get through this’: B.C. sees new COVID-19 death, but 57% have recovered

A total of 1,066 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

Canada’s 75% wage subsidy is coming, but not for several weeks: finance minister

Subsidy will cost Canada $71 billion, but push down cost of emergency benefit, Morneau said

COVID-19: ‘The Ballad of Bonnie Henry’ recorded and released

LISTEN: Quick turnaround for song penned by B.C. Order of Canada musician Phil Dwyer

B.C. adding $300 to monthly income and disability assistance payments

‘Crisis supplement’ for COVID-19 for April, May and June

Most Read