VPA pushes back spring season until April 6

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BENNINGTON — Following Governor Phil Scott's lead regarding school closures until April 6, the Vermont Principals Association has postponed the start of the 2020 spring season until at least that date due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

In a meeting on Monday morning, the VPA said it would mirror the Governor's timeline and then reassess as April 6 approaches with guidance from the Governor's office or Vermont Department of Health whether to start the season, further postpone or cancel the season outright.

"We join the voices of student athletes around the state in our shared desire to get the season underway as soon as possible, and we will follow whatever steps are deemed necessary for the betterment of public health," said the VPA in a statement posted on its website Monday.

Burr and Burton athletic director Dave Miceli said he felt the VPA decision made sense.

"If we are going to start on April 6, we can have an abbreviated season and still have a season that makes sense," Miceli said.

In an email to athletic departments across Vermont, VPA assistant executive director Bob Johnson said that the intent is to offer a spring season, but that teams need to be ready to eliminate non-league games and play as many league games as possible.

"VPA said to prioritize league against non-league, what to preserve, what to rearrange and what will that look like," Miceli said.

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The VPA plans to waive the requirement that a team has to play a minimum of games to be eligible for postseason play. Usually, it's 10 games, depending on the length of the season. Also, the number of practices required to play games will be reduced from 10 to 5.

"Something I've shared with coaches and parents, is to prepare for multiple variables, control the controllables and let go of the rest and to win the moment, focus on what's important now, do what is important now," Miceli said. "If we start on the sixth, we'll be well prepared to come out with a quick start, if it's delayed or canceled, we'll be prepared for that also."

One major part is having coaches stay connected with their athletes, as get-togethers including practices have been called off for now.

"Coaches are an important part of our athletes lives and you want to create a team culture even though you can't get them together," Miceli said. "Those are the challenges that are more pressing that figuring out schedules right now."

Mount Anthony girls lacrosse coach Emily Cross said that she is coming up with a few things for her team.

"My No. 1 concern is their health, but after that, I'm going to video some wall-ball routines, give them some at home workouts, all optional," Cross said. "It's important to be a positive light and we'll be ready to go whenever we can."

Miceli said he feels for the athletes, especially the seniors who are in their final seasons in high school athletics.

"In the same breath, I also understand that compared to the overall, what we're talking about is not a big thing compared to what others are dealing with," Miceli said. "There's no blueprint or path, but the core principles that drive our mission as a school and as educators, we want to help young people grow into being the best they can become."


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