MHSA Cancels Spring Sports Season

High school activities in Montana have been paused since March 13 because of coronavirus outbreak

By Andy Viano
Jordan Nelson of Bigfork runs the 100 meter dash in the Montana AA/B state track and field meet in Legends Stadium in Kalispell on May 24, 2019. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

There will be no spring sports season in Montana.

The Montana High School Association announced on Wednesday that the 2020 track, tennis and softball seasons have been officially canceled. The declaration came not long after Gov. Steve Bullock revealed his plan to gradually reopen the state and gave local school districts the option of returning to in-person learning on Wednesday, May 7.

Interscholastic sports have been postponed statewide since March 13, before the start of the spring season, as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. MHSA officials announced earlier this month that the spring season would be canceled if regular classroom learning did not resume by May 4 and the governor’s announcement sealed the season’s fate.

“The MHSA Executive Board proceeded with cautious optimism holding on to hope to realistically resume spring activities,” the MHSA wrote in a release announcing the decision. “It would be difficult to conduct meaningful spring activities from this late date, with many schools deciding not to return to in-person instruction, and with the social distancing recommendations still in place along with many other factors. We empathize with all the students, schools and communities that this decision impacts, and especially with the many seniors that have shown maturity and resolve as their culminating year of high school has been impacted beyond activities and athletics due to this COVID-19 pandemic. The Class of 2020 will not be forgotten.”

The spring sports season in Montana includes track and field, softball, tennis and small-school golf. State music festivals in March and April had previously been canceled.

The cancelation of an entire sports season is almost unprecedented in Montana history. Girls track and field, tennis and softball have crowned champions every year since their sports were first sanctioned. The 2020 season will be the first time since 1945 that the state will not crown a champion in boys track and field.

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