Wrestling season still unresolved as MPA plans for spring sports
By Ernie Clark, Bangor Daily News Staff
Feb. 22’s scheduled meeting of the Maine Principals’ Association wrestling committee was postponed and, in this case, no news was bad news for high school wrestlers hoping to have a spring season.
A final decision on wrestling’s fate during the 2020-21 school year was delayed earlier this month after the National Federation of State High School Associations discontinued its categorization of various sports as high, medium or low risk for potential coronavirus infection.
The MPA’s school sports guidance and the state’s community sports guidelines have used higher, moderate and lower risk categorizations to determine how or whether individual sports may be conducted in Maine during the pandemic.
Tackle football and wrestling are considered higher-risk sports, meaning they are limited to Level 2 activity — team-based practices with physically distanced group activities and no intrasquad competition or matches against other teams.
“We had reached out to have a conversation [with state agencies] with the change in the National Federation of State High School Associations’ guidelines and just haven’t heard back,” said MPA Assistant Executive Director Mike Bisson, the association’s liaison to its wrestling committee. “We’re kind of hoping that when we send our spring guideline proposal out that it would spark a conversation.”
Without a change in state guidelines, wrestling is likely to face the same fate as tackle football. The MPA football committee voted late last month not to proceed with plans for a proposed spring high school football season.
“We’ll probably do something by the end of the week.” Bisson said. “I know people will say we’ve kicked the can down the road and all that stuff, but since there were changes within the National Federation of State High School Associations we were just trying to do everything we could to try to have some kind of season.”
With regionalized playoffs in several sports beginning next week, planning also is under way for spring sports.
Pitchers and catchers conditioning workouts for baseball and softball are scheduled to begin March 22, with formal practices in all spring sports set for a March 29 start.
Bisson said all of the MPA’s spring sports committees have met regarding the upcoming season. They are preparing recommendations for consideration by a work group that includes representatives of the state Department of Education, the Maine School Superintendents Association, the Maine School Boards Association, the governor’s office and the Department of Health and Human Services.
“We’ll send those this week,” he said.