With just four high school sports in the fall season, the Poynette School Board followed the recommendation given to them by PHS Associate Principal and Athletic Director Jessica McCracken during its Aug. 25 meeting.
McCracken advised the board to allow the cross country teams to compete in the fall, but move all other sports (football, boys soccer and volleyball) to the modified spring option created by the WIAA.
Cross country is viewed as a low-risk sport and Poynette’s teams have been successfully practicing in cohorts outside.
The teams would compete in a dual-meet format only throughout the season and all runners will wear masks. Staggered start times and other modifications can be made during races.
The cross country team usually hosts a multi-team event each season, but McCracken said the school can turn it into multiple dual meets, with schools coming at various times throughout the day.
Additionally, all spectators are expected to wear masks as well and distance themselves from all athletes outside their immediate family.
Per WIAA rule, if any fall team fails to complete 50 percent of its overall season (based on duration and number of competitions), it will be allowed to switch to the modified spring option.
Also during fall, McCracken advised to continue the open gyms and weight room activities for all other student-athletes as cohorts are able to be maintained in those instances.
Moving to spring
Assessing the sports outside of cross country was a little more challenging for McCracken because all three teams play in different conferences.
The Capitol Conference, which the Poynette volleyball team is a member, voted 8-3 to move all fall sports to spring, but still allowed individual schools to choose. McCracken noted that three teams are choosing to play in fall from the Capitol North.
The football team was set to enter its first season in the South Central Conference, with the majority of teams playing in the fall. The SCC voted to stay in the fall, but even with Poynette moving to the spring option, McCracken feels there will be opportunities for the team to have a full schedule of games, perhaps playing teams from the Capital Conference. The WIAA has also eliminated all tournament series for sports, thus adding to the safety precautions and limiting travel for all teams.
The boys soccer team co-ops with Portage and plays in the Badger Conference, which chose not to compete in the fall. However, Portage is moving forward with its fall season, so McCracken said that Poynette could pursue a one-year only co-op with a different school for the 2020-21 season. It would maximize the opportunities for the players from Poynette to have a season.