The Wisconsin high school girls and boys basketball state tournaments were canceled, falling victim to the coronavirus outbreak.
In an effort to stop the spread of the virus, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers issued an executive order Friday, March 13, that closes all public and private schools and suspends all spring sports activities from March 18 until April 6.
With his team forced to scrap two early-season meets, Oregon boys track and field coach Ned Lease has given personal workouts to each of his athletes based on which events they will compete in. The Panthers girls track and field team also had its season opener at UW-Platteville canceled.
“It’s a big wake-up call and a reminder that sports are not the most important thing in the world,” Lease said. “This will help us more remember the importance of being able to be on teams together to accomplish a common goal.”
The remainder of the NCAA winter and spring championships were canceled, including the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments for the first time since 1939. The cancellations hit Lease, a former wrestler and track athlete at UW-Platteville, hard.
“College athletes, especially wrestlers, sacrifice a lot,” he said. “For them to have this happen, it’s heartbreaking and a heavy dose of reality.”
Like many other spring coaches, Lease is challenging his team members to become students of their events. He wants them to seek out Olympians and masters of their events to watch video as motivation.
“A lot of people will be glued to their phones, TV and computers,” he said. “We just want to make the best of it. We want them to become inspired.”
The defending Division 2 state champion Oregon girls soccer team had its first two games canceled. The Panthers are breaking in a new head coach in Bobby Nichols, who succeeded Nelson Brownell.