With the WIAA allowing school districts to keep their fall sports as is or move them to the spring because of coronavirus, districts all across the state are doing their best trying to work out schedules for their teams.
The Marshall School Board officially gave the green light to the fall sports season last week, which then allowed Athletic Director Matt Kleinheinz and his coaches the OK to piece together schedules for this fall season with teams also staying put with a fall season. Kleinheinz tells DailyDodge.com that with things changing daily because of COVID-19, creating a schedule is like putting a puzzle together one day and when you wake up the next day it’s in 1,000 pieces so you put it back together again. For example, he says girls volleyball has had multiple major changes to their schedule in the last few days.
Marshall is in Dane County, which means at this point they are under stricter guidelines than some other school districts in the region. Kleinheinz says Marshall was already planning to start the year virtually in the classroom, so last Friday’s announcement to require all schools in the county to be virtual hasn’t had that much impact on the athletic programs at this point.
With current Dane County regulations Marshall, is not allowed to have any physical contact between athletes at practices. With contact limited, Marshall’s girls volleyball team and football team plan on traveling outside the county to Fall River for workouts one day a week during the season. Kleinheinz says that will allow the volleyball team to do some six on six workouts and the football team to have a full contact practice in order to prepare for games.
Current health regulations also dictate that Marshall is not allowed to host any events at their school at this point. That means that the school will have to schedule all road games this fall. Kleinheinz, says they don’t think it would be feasible to try and host neutral site games, so to make it as easy as possible for everyone, they will just be “road warriors” this season. He says everyone realizes that if they want to play, this is the way it has to be.
Cross Country began practice last week and Kleinheinz says his coaching staff and players have been doing a great job following the safety guidelines that are in place. He says they have been wearing masks for stretching and team activities and are doing a great job social distancing while out on their runs. He says that with football and volleyball not starting for a few weeks, the cross country program knows that all eyes are on them, to do things correctly. They are blazing the trail for athletics at Marshall with everyone watching to see see how things go.
Marshall’s first cross country meet is set for Tuesday night when they travel 150 miles to Westby for an invitational. He says the meet will look much different than a normal cross country meet. Kids will start in waves rather than in one big group. Runners will be required to wear masks for the first quarter mile of the race and then again as they near the finish line and keep them on through the chute. He says if all goes well, hopefully some people locally will feel more comfortable about hosting schedule some events in our area.
Kleinheinz says that families in the district just wanted a choice to compete this fall and he appreciates them being given that chance. He says that they have had a few families decided not to participate this year because of coronavirus, but for those that choose to, they will do their best to do things safely.
The football team hasn’t had any contact this summer, but the weight room is just starting to open up while the girls volleyball team has had a few open gyms. Practice for football and girls volleyball can officially begin on September 7th.
Click the link to listen to a full interview with Marshall Athletic Director Matt Kleinheinz
If you have a question about this story or have an idea for a future local sports story, please email Wade Bates at [email protected]