Montgomery County cancels high school winter sports season amid virus concerns – Washington Post

Montgomery County, the most populous jurisdiction in Maryland, announced the cancellation of its winter sports season in an email to athletic directors Wednesday.
Montgomery joins Prince George’s, the second-most-populous county in the state, in ruling out winter sports as coronavirus cases continue to spike. Prince George’s, a basketball recruiting hotbed, announced its move last week. Both counties hope to play their fall sports seasons beginning in mid-February.
The only Maryland county in the area that has yet to cancel or postpone its winter sports season is Calvert, which began practices last week and plans to start competitions next month. Official winter sports in Maryland include basketball, wrestling, swimming and indoor track and field. (Calvert will not participate in wrestling this year.) Montgomery County said opportunities for basketball, wrestling and swimming may be provided later in the school year.
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Montgomery’s announcement comes during a month in which coronavirus cases have reached new highs nationally and in Maryland. Before Wednesday’s announcement, Montgomery County said sports wouldn’t return until Jan. 12 at the earliest.
While some Virginia counties began winter sports practices Dec. 7 and plan to play games beginning Monday, D.C. also postponed sports until February at the earliest. Last week, the Independent School League and the Mid-Atlantic Athletic Conference announced they wouldn’t provide league-sanctioned competition this winter. The Interstate Athletic Conference said it won’t begin league competition next month, as proposed earlier this fall.
The last time Maryland public school basketball teams played was in last season’s region finals in March. The teams that qualified for the state semifinals never played their games and won’t have another shot at a state title until 2022.
The Richard Montgomery boys were one of those teams that qualified for the state semifinals, making Montgomery County’s announcement harder to process for Coach David Breslaw and his players. The Rockets expected to return the majority of their key players from last season.
“There’s some drills we do; I have to do my homework and try to remember it,” Breslaw said, “because it was the responsibility of my team to teach it to the next generations.”
Rob Whittles, whose Springbrook wrestling team has won back-to-back state titles, was optimistic in October the winter sports season might happen. But when coronavirus cases spiked in November, his hopes diminished.
“I’m going to have other seasons to coach; it’s not the end of the world,” Whittles said. “But it’s just sad that [my athletes] don’t get to have their time to shine. I’d be really upset if I lost my senior year, so I just can’t imagine what they’re going to be thinking.”
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