Winter sports to get going February 14

Mark Martin

On a day reserved for sweethearts, winter sports coaches received some "sweet" news earlier this week. The news was simple...there will be a season.

Those coaches of swimming, wrestling, girls basketball and boys basketball can begin conducting practices with their teams on February 14 – otherwise known as Valentine’s Day.

Shall we say these coaches “loved” the news.

Their respective seasons, which should have started back in November with workouts followed by competition in December, have been put on hold not once, but twice.

First, the start day was moved to January 11 and then it was later announced by the Governor Jim Justice that things wouldn’t begin until March 1.

COVID-19, of course, was the culprit.

When March 1 was the targeted date, the governor didn’t note at the time if that was for practice or games.

With the February 14 start date for preseason drills (some programs had started back in November before being shut down), the first competition of swim meets, wrestling matches and basketball games can be March 3.

Teams need a 16-day window to get in the required 14 preseason workouts.

Last March, the West Virginia Girls State Basketball Tournament was shut down after a day and a half due to the pandemic and wasn't completed. The Boys State Tournament was never played and all spring sports (tennis, track and field, softball and baseball) were cancelled.

Counties will have to be out of the red in the state’s color-coded COVID-19 map in order to practice and play in the coming months.

How the postseason will unfold for the winter sports and what is the official plan for spring sports will be finalized soon.

At least for now, the news from earlier this week was “sweet” when it comes to high school sports in West Virginia and for the teams of Ravenswood and Ripley here in Jackson County.