Baseball fields sit empty

Baseball fields sit empty after spring sports’ fate was decided last week.

The athletic fields at Champlain Valley Union High School will stay empty for the rest of the spring.

On Thursday, April 30, the Vermont Principals’ Association – the body that governs high school sports – announced the 2020 spring sports season had been cancelled.

“It is with great regret that the Vermont Principals’ Association and its Activities Standards Committee announce the cancellation of the 2020 spring sports season,” the VPA said in a press release. “The VPA and the Activities Standards Committee have delayed as long as possible in hopes that some version of a season could be salvaged, but now it is too close to the end of the school year for that to occur.

“We feel terribly for our Vermont student athletes who have been preparing for their 2020 spring sports season, and especially saddened for our 2020 seniors.”

While the decision brought about sadness from high school athletes, coaches and fans, it was not a surprise.

New Hampshire announced the cancellation of their season the week prior, while New York State shuttered theirs last week.

“I think, realistically, we could all see this coming from the start,” said CVU athletic director Dan Sherpardson. “We were just hoping against hope that we could get some kind of abbreviated season.”

With the cancellation of the season, baseball, softball, boys and girls lacrosse, boys and girls tennis, ultimate frisbee and track and field will all have to wait one more year.

“For the seniors, it’s not just sports, it’s the final weeks of your senior year.” Shepardson said. “To miss all of that, it’s sad.”

Shepardson, who sits on the VPA’s Activities Standards Committee which made the final decision, said that it was going to be hard to figure out how to have a high school sports season when schools themselves were shut down.

The Committee decided to delay the final decision until the end of April, hoping that something, anything, would come up that would allow sports to resume. When that became less and less likely, the season was officially cancelled.

“When we went into the meeting on Thursday (April 30), 36 states had already cancelled,” Shepardson said. “We probably could have probably made the decision sooner but we didn’t see a downside to a waiting.”

With the season officially over, Shepardson is still encouraging his coaches to reach out to the athletes and encourage them to continue to be active throughout the rest of the stay at home order.

“In the greater picture of life, you aren’t going to play this sport your whole life but you will be active your whole life, so get out and get some exercise,” Shepardson said. “I encouraged the coaches to stay connected with the kids, from the physical education and mental health perspective.”

Shepardson will now turn his attention to the fall sports season and hopes that getting out on the field once school returns in September is an option for CVU athletes.

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