MHSA Delays Winter Sports Until January

Basketball, wrestling and swimming will not compete until Jan. 7; Fall postseason rules tweaked

By Micah Drew
Beacon file photo

The Montana High School Association at their board meeting on Oct. 13 delayed the start of winter sports and approved new formats for some fall postseason athletic competitions.

During the Zoom board meeting, MHSA approved delaying winter sports practice until Dec. 7, and pushed the first date of competition until Jan. 4. Initially, practices were to begin in November.

“The delay will allow time for schools and communities to assist in flattening the curve and get through two holiday seasons within their own teams and within their own communities before contests begin,” MHSA said in in a press release.

Speech, debate and drama participants are approved to begin practice on Oct. 19, however the board directed that when competitions begin Dec. 1, all meets must be held virtually until further notice.

MHSA also approved changes to the Class AA state soccer tournament, which begins this week. The postseason will be condensed from three weeks to two weeks.

For soccer, football and volleyball, MHSA approved a maximum of six spectator passes per player for both home and visiting teams, four spectator tickets for alternates and managers, two spectator tickets for coaches and two spectator tickets for cheerleaders, with the approval of county health departments.

Due to rising COVID-19 numbers, MHSA is prohibiting student sections and bands from post-season games.

The cross country state meet at Rebecca Farm in Kalispell is still set to go forward in its expanded two-day format. On Friday, Oct. 23 Class A and B will compete while Class AA and Class C will run on Saturday, Oct. 24. A single start will be allowed for the state meet which will be the first time more than 28 athletes will be allowed on a single starting line, separated into alleys. The state meet features up to seven runners from each qualified team, which includes 16 AA teams, 23 B teams and 33 C teams.

Only two spectator tickets will be allowed for each cross country runner.

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