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July 12, 2020

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Spring prep sports season begins under cloud of uncertainty

Matches go on Thursday, as coaches and players await further news

By , Columbian Assistant Sports Editor
2 Photos
Ridgefield golfer Samantha Fenton putts during a match against Union at Tri Mountain Golf Course on Thursday.
Ridgefield golfer Samantha Fenton putts during a match against Union at Tri Mountain Golf Course on Thursday. (Nathan Howard/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

The spring high school sports teed off in earnest on Thursday across Southwest Washington.

How long it will be permitted to continue is anyone’s guess.

“Our school district had a big meeting at 11 a.m. today,” Union girls golf coach Gary Mills said Thursday. “And by 1:45 p.m., we were pulling kids out of class to get to our match, not really knowing if we would have a match or not.

“But then we got word that spring sports would continue until further notice.”

As school officials continue to assess the impact on the COVID-19 coronavirus in the region, Mills’ team opened its season against Ridgefield in a dual match at Tri-Mountain Golf Course in Ridgefield. It was one of six golf matches scheduled across Southwest Washington on Thursday.

Ridgefield golf coach Bob Ball said his program is just taking things day to day.

“When you see all the stuff that has been impacted, it’s hard to think it won’t impact us at some point,” Ball said.

Things have been moving quickly in the sports world. In the 24 hours prior to when the Titans and Spudders teed off, pro sports leagues across the country were suspending seasons and the NCAA canceled its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.

Also Thursday. Gov. Jay Inslee ordered public schools in the Seattle area close for six weeks.

“I think all of this stuff is hitting adults a lot harder than it is the kids,” Mills said. “Adults talk about how all of this is unprecedented. But the kids are like ‘OK.’ ”

Skyview softball coach Kim Anthony, whose daughter Mikelle is standout for the Storm, agreed.

“The girls don’t have a clue right now that it’s even uncertain,” Anthony said. “But I work in the athletics office, so my stomach was in knots today. I cried earlier thinking they’re going to take (Mikelle’s) senior season away.”

Ridgefield senior golfer Samantha Fenton said the possibility of school closures is very much on her mind.

“I’m for sure thinking about it,” Fenton said. “I’ve had closures of other things I do. I’ve my orchestra events closed down. Teachers don’t want to spread panic, but they’re telling us if school is closed, we’ll do work online. And we’re thinking that eventually, our golf matches will be closed down.”

Mountain View boys soccer coach Dustin Johnson says he’s extremely worried for the season going forward. He believes this is one of Mountain View’s best teams ever.

“I would be devastated to not see what this group could do,” Johnson said during a Wednesday practice at McKenzie Stadium.

And that’s leaving coaches to consider possible alternatives.

“Even if we can’t have a legitimate state tournament, I’d still like to play our (league) season,” Anthony said. “Have a league champ and maybe do a district tournament, just something. Just let the kids play.”

Still, Fenton remains hopeful that her senior golf season won’t be completely lost.

“I know there’s nothing we can do, so just whatever we have now, I hope to have fun doing it,” she said. “Hopefully, this stuff doesn’t get completely canceled, just delayed a little bit.”