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Snow wipes out return of high school sports in Harford County; games restart Tuesday without fans because of COVID concerns

After a 10-day holiday break, Harford County Public Schools were closed on Monday, halting the return of high school athletics for hundreds of student-athletes eager to get back to action.
After a 10-day holiday break, Harford County Public Schools were closed on Monday, halting the return of high school athletics for hundreds of student-athletes eager to get back to action. (Matt Button / The Aegis/Baltimore Sun Media)

After a 10-day holiday break, Harford County Public Schools were closed on Monday, halting the return of high school athletics for hundreds of student-athletes eager to get back to action.

The closure canceled practices but also postponed a handful of boys and girls basketball games, which may result in eventual cancellations for some.

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When play resumes, though, players and teams will do so without spectators. Harford County Public Schools’ COVID Response Operations Status update as of Tuesday reads:

  • No in-person after-school activities that are not included in the testing/vaccination program.
  • No field trips, assemblies, or social events.
  • No spectators at athletic competitions, or audience at performances.
  • No in-person meetings for employees, with exceptions through executive director or assistant superintendent.
  • No use of facilities.
  • No person with COVID-19 symptoms, in isolation due to a positive COVID-19 test, in quarantine due to close contact with a person with COVID-19 symptoms or a COVID-19 positive test, may work in or visit HCPS property. All wishing to enter HCPS property must adhere to their isolation or quarantine timeline as directed.

Aberdeen’s boys basketball team, which was supposed to play at Overlea over the break, was among teams to have games postponed.

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“We worked the whole holiday break to stay safe and follow COVID protocols in preparation to be able to have a whole season of practice and games,” Eagles coach Bill Jones said. “Was not expecting our first day back to be canceled by snow, but that’s the norm of being a winter sports coach in Harford.”

Aberdeen will now face North East Jan. 19 at 7 p.m.

Joppatowne was another boys hoops team that saw its holiday tournament at Franklin canceled during the break. The Mariners, like the Eagles, were also scheduled to play Monday and host Overlea.

Mariners coach Jesse Jones said the team was excited to get back on the court but they took advantage of the downtime.

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“We had a lot of time to reflect, go over film and see what areas we need to improve in and make the adjustments,” he said. “We were able to get into the gym and get some work in, get some shots up and continue conditioning.”

Patterson Mill boys’ and girls’ home games versus Patapsco has not yet been rescheduled.

“We are accustomed during the four-month winter sports season to navigating our way through numerous obstacles,” Huskies girls basketball coach Mike Getz said. “No different from any other year, we go one day at a time and prepare for the next game and practice and adjust when we have to.”

John Carroll athletes were actually off for two full weeks and both the boys and girls basketball teams were scheduled for games Monday. The boys were set to play at Boys’ Latin in Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association play, while the girls were to host Mount de Sales in an Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland B1 Conference game.

“We are excited and looking forward to getting back with our teams consistently. If we have learned anything from the past few years, we must not take anything for granted and we must enjoy every moment we have together,” Patriots boys coach and athletic director Seth Goldberg said. “Whether it is snow or COVID, neither is within our team’s control, yet both serve as great reminders for our athletes and coaches to value each day we have together.”

While Mondays are not a regular day for wrestling meets, practices are a necessity for many as they come back from extended breaks.

“In a word, frustrating,” Fallston wrestling coach Kevin Medicus said. “Wrestlers, coaches and parents just want a sense of normalcy. In the short term, COVID is not going away and is something that coaches are dealing with on a daily basis. The narrative changes constantly as we struggle to keep up with what is best for the athletes.”

Edgewood wrestling coach Ken Ewers echoed the Medicus thoughts. “Well it is definitely frustrating, but it’s just another thing that is outside of our control. I have been encouraging my team to not let things that they cannot control bother them and rather focus on what they can control,” Ewers said. “There has always been obstacles in a wrestling season like snow and now COVID is added on top of the list, just making it even more challenging, so we look to see how we can make the best of it and not dwell on the negatives.”

Harford’s swim teams are also not scheduled to compete on Mondays throughout the season. Still, Mondays are a day to prepare for the week ahead.

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