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High school athletics back in Carroll County with start of winter sports practice

High school sports competition in Carroll County is slated to resume Jan. 5, nearly 10 months to the day when it last appeared on a calendar.

A pandemic soon spread. Winter sports state tournament games were postponed, and later canceled. The spring season was snuffed out, schools were closed, and sports went on hold.

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COVID-19 is still here, and Carroll County Public Schools is in virtual learning mode for the remainder of 2020. But high school athletics is back beginning Monday, Dec. 14 with the first day of practice for winter sports.

Michael Duffy, the county’s supervisor of athletics, spoke during last week’s Board of Education meeting and presented Carroll’s sports timeline from the start of practice until the end of the scheduled winter season. The winter’s “preseason” consists of three phases, the first of which takes place this week with conditioning, skill evaluation, and team selection. Duffy said parents can expect tryouts to look the same as in years past.

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Phase 2, set for Dec. 21-Jan. 4, will feature practices and intra-squad scrimmages, Duffy said. The final phase is interscholastic competition, from Jan. 5 until Feb. 12. The winter schedule was originally set to begin Jan. 4, but Duffy said the county pushed it back one day to give athletes and coaches a little more time to prepare.

Winters Mill's Alex Vagnier, top, tries forcing Westminster's Tyler Beaver on his back in the 126 weight class during a wrestling match at Westminster High School on Thursday, Jan. 9.
Winters Mill's Alex Vagnier, top, tries forcing Westminster's Tyler Beaver on his back in the 126 weight class during a wrestling match at Westminster High School on Thursday, Jan. 9. (Brian Krista/Carroll County Times)

Athletes will be required to provide their own water bottles, Duffy said, and social distance guidelines will be followed wherever possible. Duffy said athletes are also asked to bring their own equipment, although there will be cases in which some equipment will need to be shared during the season.

“We’re not going to have all 10 students on the basketball court providing their own basketballs,” Duffy said during the board meeting.

Hand sanitizer will be available at all practices and competitions, and Duffy told the board games will be streamed online for people to view ― spectators are not allowed during the winter season, he said.

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Six of the county’s seven gymnasiums have their video cameras in place, and Duffy said testing them is the next step before games begin in three weeks.

When board member Marsha Herbert asked about eligibility becoming a factor once sports resume, Duffy said all athletes are eligible to compete at this time and will remain eligible through the conclusion of the winter season.

South Carroll's girls indoor track team celebrates with their Class 2A state championship trophy during the MPSSAA Indoor Track State Championship Meet at Prince George's Sports Complex on Monday, Feb. 17.
South Carroll's girls indoor track team celebrates with their Class 2A state championship trophy during the MPSSAA Indoor Track State Championship Meet at Prince George's Sports Complex on Monday, Feb. 17. (Brian Krista/Carroll County Times)

The winter sports are boys basketball, girls basketball, wrestling, boys indoor track, and girls indoor track. Century won the boys basketball county title, and Westminster earned the girls hoops crown.

South Carroll won the wrestling county championship, and Century swept the indoor track boys and girls titles.

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