COLUMBUS, Ohio (WKBN) – The Ohio High School Athletic Association has officially announced the cancellation of all remaining winter sports tournaments Thursday due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This includes boys basketball regionals and state wrestling, ice hockey and girls basketball.
Locally, the West Branch Girls were set to meet Dayton Carroll In the Division II State Semifinals.
All teams involved were informed of the decision on Thursday morning.
In addition, Chaney was slated to meet Akron Saint Vincent-Saint Mary in the Division II Boys Basketball Regional Semifinals.
In addition, 22 local wrestlers from 11 different schools were slated to compete in state competition.
“We are just devastated that the tournaments cannot be completed,” said OHSAA Executive Director Jerry Snodgrass. “But our priority is the safety of our student-athletes, coaches, communities and officials. Governor Mike DeWine is asking all Ohioans to do everything they can to stop the spread of this virus. That request, along with our schools not being able to reopen for weeks, means that school sports cannot happen at this time. Even if our schools reopen this spring, it will be difficult to find facilities willing to host the tournaments. Most campus are shut down until mid to late summer.
According to the OHSAA, these four winter state tournaments and a few events during World War 2 (1941-45) are the only sports cancellations in the history of the OHSAA, which was founded in 1907. However, boys basketball and wrestling were not cancelled during those years. The girls basketball state tournament was first held in 1976 and the ice hockey state tournament was first held in 1978.
Per a release from the OHSAA, the 16 schools that qualified for the girls basketball state tournament and the four teams that qualified for the ice hockey state tournament will all receive state tournament programs. The 672 student-athletes who qualified for the wrestling state tournament will all receive a program, certificate and their weigh-in card.
The release also states that no state champions will be listed for these four sports in 2020. The OHSAA does not use state polls from the media or coaches associations to determine state champions.
The start of the OHSAA’s spring sports of softball, lacrosse, baseball, track and field and boys tennis is still postponed, which coincides with schools not being open.