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Baltimore County will begin fall high school sports competitions March 12, ending indefinite delay

On a day when many public high schools in the Baltimore area resumed competitions for the first time in nearly a year, Baltimore County Public Schools announced it will begin playing games next Friday, a week later than originally scheduled.

The decision comes eight days after the county delayed the fall season indefinitely due to rising COVID-19 cases that pushed the county into code orange, or high risk.

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BCPS wrote in a news release the decision came “after continued consultation with staff from the Baltimore County Department of Health and an intense focus on mitigation strategies.”

Competition will begin next Friday for fall sports, which include soccer, football, field hockey, cross country and volleyball.

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Games will be limited to in-county competitions and only one spectator will be allowed per athlete.

“The decision has been made and we are excited to be back playing, and we look forward to our games next week,” said Mike Sye, coordinator of athletics for BCPS.

Catonsville athletic director Rich Hambor said when the delay was announced last week he was optimistic it would only be for a week.

“I’m mostly happy for the players,” he said. “We have kids that have been out there for a couple weeks now, and there’s that initial excitement about being able to get back with their teammates and see coaches, and I think it was kind at a point where that’s not going to last forever and you want to look forward to competing. … Now they’re really excited about having that next date in mind. It’s not as nebulous, it’s not as foggy anymore.”

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Howard and Carroll counties opened their shortened fall sports season with an array of games Friday afternoon, while Anne Arundel County will begin playing a condensed fall season on March 23. In Harford County, spring sports practices start March 15.

On Thursday, Baltimore City Public Schools announced it will resume high school athletics with voluntary workouts beginning Monday and games for spring sports beginning April 5.

This story will be updated.

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