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FHSAA cancels spring sports

Bob Putnam

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Jefferson dugout

For the first time in more than 100 years, the Florida High School Athletic Association will not hold season-ending tournaments or meets to crown a state champion in any spring sport. 

The state’s governing body for high school sports announced Monday that spring sports (baseball, boys volleyball, boys weightlifting, flag football, lacrosse, softball, tennis and track and field and water polo) were officially cancelled in a press release initially released to board members. 

The decision comes two days after Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that schools statewide should remain closed through the spring semester. Schools are still conducting classes through a virtual setting.

“With the evolving threat of the CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19), we must ensure that we do not contribute to the spread of this illness,” the release said. “We are deeply saddened for our student-athletes who have seen their seasons and/or high school careers end so abruptly. Our Association knows the impact and role high school athletics play in the lives of so many and will continue to work towards the betterment of high school sports. We know this is a trying time, but the health and safety of all is of utmost importance to this association.”

The FHSAA also said in the release that no additional eligibility would be granted for spring athletes, following Florida Department of Education guidelines and a review of Florida statutes and FHSAA bylaws. 

Last month, the FHSAA postponed all games, meets and tournaments through May 3 because of the coronavirus pandemic. The organization, however, did not cancel spring sports at that time.

In a March 31 press release, the FHSAA said its staff was “actively working on creative solutions for the continuance of spring sports through June 30,” provided schools return to a classroom setting and sports are given the green-light by the Florida Department of Education to resume.

Athletic directors from around the stare were holding weekly meetings with FHSAA officials to discuss the potential obstacles of extending the season into the summer such as expired physicals, lack of officials and the availability of stadiums for state tournaments and meets.

None of that mattered after the governor made his decision this past weekend.  

Area teams were already anticipating the move with many sharing posts on social media that paid homage to their players this past weekend. Coaches started collecting uniforms from their players Monday morning before the announcement was even made.  

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Baseball

No more fans at Pasco County sporting events after COVID spike

Bob Putnam

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Stock football stadium

Pasco County has decided to limit all athletic activities to students and coaches due to the recent spike in coronavirus cases. 

That means no fans or media members in attendance. 

The new rule starts on Monday and will last until the positivity rate, which has climbed to nine percent, drops to below five percent for a rolling seven-day period. 

In the past two weeks, two county football teams — Wiregrass Ranch and Fivay — had to forfeit playoff games because of a player testing positive for coronavirus and multiple team members and coaches having to quarantine due to contact tracing. 

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Baseball

Signing day roundup

Bob Putnam

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Academy of the Holy Names

Rowing

Grace Cronen: West Virginia

Jessica Reynolds: North Carolina

Softball

INF Rachael Petrarca: Providence

P/INF Belle Sardja: Florida Southwestern

Berkeley Prep

Baseball

P Will Parkinson: Columbia

P Evan Parmer: Virginia Military Institute

Lacrosse

Justyce Barber: William and Mary

Swimming

Amy Wotovich: Harvard

Volleyball

MB Camryn Carlo: Cornell

Bishop McLaughlin

Girls basketball

G Isabella Prada: Rollins

Softball

3B/C Emily Suchan: Enterprise State

Volleyball

OH Audrey Koenig: Florida State

DS/L Adrianna Lopez: Rollins

Calvary Christian

Baseball

RHP Jack Cebert: USF

RHP/OF Tyler Dietz: USF

C/1B/OF Zach Ferlita: Covenant

OF/LHP Charles Stevens: Butler

1B/OF Jackson Unice: Eckerd

Softball

SS/C Leah Jarnac: Duke

C/SS Sam Leski: Florida Gulf Coast

Track and field

Meredith Adams: Texas

Canterbury

Softball

1B/3B Sarah Young: Rollins

Clearwater Central Catholic

Soccer

F/MF Kendall Liermann: Towson

Tennis

Ryan Boland: Loyola Maryland

Emma Fernald: William & Mary

Dunedin

Baseball

OF/1B Marcus Brodil: South Florida

East Lake

Track and field

Anna Cincotta: Florida Atlantic

Jesuit

Baseball

P Dominic Castellano: Central Florida

OF B.J. Graham: Tulane

INF Nick Rodriguez: Charleston Southern

INF/C Cole Russo: Central Florida

P Alden Segui: North Carolina

P Jackson Shembekar: Tampa

P Ryan Skelly: Charleston Southern

P Joey Volini: South Florida

Largo

Girls soccer

Asti Luff: Citadel

Newsome

Softball

C Lydia Castro: South Florida

Olivia Dresser: McDaniel College

P/OF Kaitlyn Felton: Central Florida

1B Jadeyn Ruszkowski: Clemson

Osceola

Softball

UTIL Jayla Brooks: Delaware

Plant

Girls basketball

G Kendal Cheesman: Vanderbilt

G Nyla Jean: Georgia State

Volleyball

OH Erin Morrissey: Maryland

River Ridge

Softball

SS Brooke Blankenship: Florida State

C/UTIL Giulia Desiderio: South Carolina

Sunlake

Softball

OF Kendra Falby: Florida

Tampa Bay Tech

Girls basketball

G Knisha Godfrey: Mississippi State

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Baseball

No test score needed for high school athletes in Class of 2021 to be eligible at D-I or II

Bob Putnam

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The NCAA Eligibility Center announced Monday that high school rising seniors will not be required to take a standardized test to be eligible to play at play at a Division I or II school.

Part of the reason is the difficulty in taking the SAT or ACT during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

”Given the continuing impact of COVID-19, the NCAA membership made this decision with the health and well-being of incoming students top of mind,” NCAA Eligibility Center Vice President Felicia Martin said in a news release. “We understand the uncertainty in the educational environment and believe these changes will help ensure students have a fair opportunity to meet the initial-eligibility standard.”

Here is what the NCAA is requiring at the each of the two levels for high-school athletes in the Class of 2021.

Division I academic eligibility.

Grade point average: 2.3 in 16 NCAA-approved core courses, with 10 core courses (seven in English, math and science) completed by the start of their seventh semester in high school (prior to senior year).

Division II academic eligibility

Grade point average: a 2.2 grade-point average in 16 NCAA-approved core courses.

* International students-athletes enrolling in a Division I or II school during the 2021-22 academic year will be academically eligible if they complete 16 core-course units with at least a 2.3 (DI) or 2.2 (DII) grade-point average in those courses.

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