Local middle schools making alternate plans for fall sports season

Tue, 08/18/2020 - 7:30am

Middle schoolers may be returning to the classroom this fall, but it doesn’t look like athletes will compete in Busline League competition. Many league schools are opting for intramural programs including Boothbay Region Elementary and Wiscasset Middle schools. Athletic Director Warren Cossette reports Wiscasset middle school athletes will participate in skill development four days per week. “We will be trying to use this opportunity to reach as many students as possible and develop much needed sport-specific skills, and physical activities,” Cossette said. 

In Boothbay Harbor, school officials are working on an in-house, intramural program. “Many, if not all, of the Busline League schools are doing the same thing. I am currently working on the parameters that I will be asking the fall sports coaches to follow when scheduling their specific sport,” Athletic Director Dennis Dacus said. 

Both athletic directors will report program details once they become available. 

Last spring, Maine schools cancelled their sports season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier this month, Maine Principals Association released guidelines for the first high school sports season in the COVID-19 era. The high school sports season began between phases 3 and 4 of Gov. Janet Mills’ plan to reopen the state. Phase 3 runs from Aug. 3 to Aug. 23 with teams allowed to begin conditioning drills. Phase 4 runs from Aug. 24 to Sept. 7 with teams continuing with more advanced conditioning drills leading up to a shortened pre-season beginning Sept. 8.

When Maine’s high school football, soccer and field hockey teams eventually begin competition, they will do so under safety precautions mandated by Maine Principals Association. The changes include a shortened regular season and expanded postseason tournament. Fourteen-game schedules for field hockey and soccer are reduced to 10. Football schedules will be reduced from eight games to six. Also, each postseason tournament will be open, allowing all teams to compete for a state championship. There are no changes to golf and cross country season schedules.

Regular season contests are slated for a Sept. 18 start.