Sun Prairie winter athletics are on the threshold of returning to in-game competitions. In an email released by Athletics and Activities Director Eric Nee Sunday, it informed parents and student-athletes that that would be a possibility as early as Jan. 23.

“I wanted to provide an update to everyone on Cardinal Athletics as we near the expiration of current Public Health Madison & Dane County Order #11 on Jan. 13. We hope to continue aligning our plans for athletics with PHMDC guidelines and protocols, and we hope that new guidance issued this week will allow for in-county competitions using reasonable infection mitigation strategies.”

Nee went on to say: “However, if the new guidance does not allow for in-county competitions, Sun Prairie will plan to start competitions outside of Dane County on Saturday, Jan. 23.”

Meanwhile, while Sun Prairie is willing to leave the county to compete, it will not leave the county to practice or scrimmage.

Whether or not spectators will be allowed to watch games has yet to be determined.

It’s been nearly 11 months since an event involving Sun Prairie athletics has occurred/ the last event/game was the Cardinals boys basketball team’s 77-70 loss to Waunakee on March 7, 2020.

To say I miss my interactions with those student-athletes and coaches is a colossal understatement. Normally at this time of year I am in the thralls of trying to balance my schedule of covering Jeff Boos’ boys basketball team, Jim Nelson’s wrestlers and Joel Coyne’s swim squad, among other SPHS sports and six schools I report on within the Hometown News Group.

Before the holiday break both Waunakee and DeForest held school board meetings where it was decided its athletic teams could begin participating in games, with the caveat being that those competitions would be played outside of Dane County.

More recently, Verona Area, Mount Horeb Area, Monona Grove, McFarland and Oregon gave the go-ahead to begin athletic events, again outside of Dane County.

Sun Prairie student-athletes were allowed to begin practices for the winter season Dec. 21. Boys basketball, boys swimming, gymnastics and wrestling all started practices prior to the holiday break, while girls swimming and pom and dance resumed practices on Jan. 4.

Boys and girls hockey, which have been playing a club schedule, were to resume practicing this past Monday.

“We only cancelled events through Jan. 22, so our next step is to update our schedules soon,” said Nee. “Whatever direction we head in, our kids will be ready, if that opportunity to compete does come up.”

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