Like many schools across the state waiting for a decision on their spring season, Boonville was no different in that respect.
Unfortunately for the players and teams competing this spring, they got some unsettling news on Thursday when MSHSAA announced that they were canceling all spring competitions.
Following Missouri Governor Mike Parson’s announcement of in-person school closure for the remainder of the school year, MSHSAA announced the cancellation of all remaining post-season events for the 2019-20 school year.
“This decision is very difficult for all involved especially given the impact it will have on our students, parents, coaches, teachers, and administrators throughout the state,” said MSHSAA Executive Director Dr. Kerwin Urhahn. “We thank all of the participants, the coaches/directors/advisors, the administrations, the parents, and everyone else who has dedicated tremendous amounts of time, passion, and effort to these events.”
Continuing the statement, MSHSAA said the biggest impact of this decision will be felt by the seniors, many of whom have exhausted their eligibility without taking the field, court or course.
“To our senior participants- we thank you for everything you have done for your schools and communities and wish you the very best in your bright futures,” Urhahn continued. “While this is a difficult ending, the lessons you’ve learned and friendships you’ve made through high school activities will last your lifetime.”
“The MSHSAA office thanks everyone involved for their patience and understanding throughout this process,” said Urhahn.
The MSHSAA staff looks forward to the resumption of high school activities during the 2020-21 school year, and will continue work on those events at this time.
With spring sports canceled in baseball, boys golf, boys tennis, boys and girls track and girls soccer, Boonville Athletic Director Chris Shikles first of all his heart goes out to the seniors. That’s where my biggest concern is, Shikles said.
“We’ve been in contact with MSHSAA throughout the last couple of weeks,” Shikles said. “The executive director told us that they would stay right in with the schools and what was decided. If schools were out and not allowed to practice and participate, and if it was later decided that school was canceled for the rest of the year, than the spring sports season was canceled.”
As of earlier this week, Missouri was one of 37 states across the country still holding out hope that high schools could play some semblence of a spring sports season, according to the USA TODAY Sports Network.
Boonville senior Josh Chrisman, a three sport athlete in soccer, tennis and basketball, said it’s definitely disappointing because there are so many opportunities they won’t get to experience.
“It seemed like at all of the practices, Quinn and I always talked about how this was our year,” Chrisman. “We got to live the experience with Francesco Bona and Luke Rehagen when they went to state, so it’s something we wanted to achieve.”
Boonville senior Josh Polk also shared his disappointment on Twitter about not being able to play his final season in baseball. However, Polk did get to play his final season in football for the Pirates. “Thank you BHS and the entire community of Boonville for the best 4 years of my life!,” Polk said on Twitter. “It’s always a great day to be a Pirate.”
Boonville Pirates baseball coach Adam Arnette said he was disappointed but not surprised by the decision from MSHSAA to cancel spring sports.
“I think everybody knew that once governor Parson canceled school for the rest of the year that MSHSAA would follow suit,” Arnette said. “I’m sure the seniors aren’t happy about it but they still have to understand. I obviously feel for the seniors not being able to participate their final season, but we understand with everything that is going on.”
Like everybody else, Arnette said he held out hope that Boonville would have an abbreviated season but as time went on and everything happening, you could see the writing on the wall after sitting home for two weeks.
With six starters back from a 17-9 campaign in 2019, the Pirates definitely had high aspirations of winning a district title and advancing to the postseason.
But that is all gone now with the season canceled before it ever got started.
With four seniors on this year’s team, Arnette said several were looking to go to college and one was looking to possibly play in college. The other two, he said, it was going to be the last time they played baseball and that may have been last season.
“It’s disappointing for them because they really didn’t get to enjoy it and maybe they took that last season for granted not thinking it was going to be the last time that they stepped on the field,” Arnette said. “It really makes you look at things. I saw one of our seniors made a really good post on Facebook and said he didn’t take this time for granted and just wanted to thank everybody and that was Josh Polk.”
Shikles said was especially tough on him personally because he is not around his coaches. He said not being around the kids also makes it tough.
“Remote conversations don’t exactly help build relationships so it’s been tough from a distance to work with coaches and tell them what the next step is,” Shikles said. “That’s been the toughest part, not being able to meet with the coaches and talk to them face to face.”
So what’s next?
Shikles said if the governor comes in and says no summer school than they have to abide by that, but if he says summer schools can start on a certain date than they’ll abide by that.
Shikles added that’s kind of a wait and see. “Now we’re in a holding pattern for summer activities,” Shikles said. “Well see how this whole thing plays out in the next month and a half and then possibly get some direction on what we can do over the summer.”
Questions about the fall season will also have to be answered. However, Shikles said he will prepare like they’re going to have a fall sports season. That’s the only way he can go about business as usual, to get ready for the next step, he said.