In the fall, Eastern equine encephalitis forced all town activities to end at dusk. It created a challenge for scheduling fall sports, but compared to this spring’s developments, that was a minor inconvenience.
On March 16, with students already being kept out of school, the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) pushed back the start of spring high school sports six weeks to April 27 due to the coronavirus outbreak.
“Like most things right now it’s more of a wait-and-see,” Hopkinton High School athletic director Rich Cormier said. “Between what we get for guidance from the state and Gov. [Charlie] Baker as well as obviously on the national level, each day it’s like a new proclamation comes out on when things are going to be shut down. I think it’s going to take a few weeks to see if this is going to do any positive of the flattening of the curve before they figure out when we’re going to be back in school.”
If the season does start April 27 — three weeks after Hopkinton students were expected to return to classes based on the mid-March plan — Cormier anticipates a four-week regular season and two-week state tournament. While not ideal, it’s a better scenario than that for college athletes, whose spring seasons were canceled in mid-March.
“Obviously these are unprecedented circumstances,” Cormier said. “I’m just hopeful we can get our students out and have some semblance of a spring season.”
In the first week after school was postponed some students were gathering at the school fields to practice informally, but Cormier discouraged that.
“The whole point of school being canceled is to prohibit groups from getting together,” he said. “It defeats the purpose of why we’re out of school if these teams are getting together informally. Now, with that said, I can 100 percent appreciate why high school students want to get together and start to prepare for their seasons, but it really does defeat the entire purpose of being out of school all this time. So they just really need to find ways to train independently at this time.”
Meanwhile, Cormier will have some additional issues in the fall, as the Boston Marathon was moved to Sept. 14. With much of the fall schedule already in place, it will create some juggling, as Marathon organizers use some of school facilities, including the fields, for a few days.
That will be just a bump in the road compared to the spring issues. But Cormier said it helps that everyone is pulling in the same direction.
“They’re all situations that we’re all dealing with together,” he said. “Just like Triple-E, everyone’s kind of in the same boat and people are genuinely working together to try to make these difficult situations as positive as we can for the students.”
HHS boys hoops falls in sectional final
If the spring season ends up getting canceled, the boys basketball team will go down in the record books as the last Hopkinton High team to play a game in the 2019-20 season. The Hillers advanced to the Division 2 Central sectional championship before falling to Wayland, 61-49, on March 7.
Hopkinton led for most of the first three quarters. Wayland made its run late in the third, taking a three-point lead heading into the final period and building on its lead down the stretch as the Hillers ran out of gas.
Coach Tom Keane, who battled colon cancer during the season, gushed about his players afterward, saying he was “forever grateful” to them for helping him through the difficult time in his life.