Anne Arundel public schools planning for full 14-week spring high school sports season starting March 15

Anne Arundel County Public Schools announced Tuesday that it plans to conduct a full 14-week competitive spring sports season beginning March 15 and will resume fall sports in a hybrid format starting Feb. 16.

The spring season will have three weeks of practices and tryouts followed by up to seven weeks of competition and additional postseason opportunities. Student-athletes for fall sports will participate in a non-competitive, four-week season that will include skill-based practice sessions that may include intrasquad scrimmages.


Anne Arundel County Coordinator of Athletics Clayton Culp said the county will not allow scrimmages between schools for fall sports because it “wanted to minimize risk and exposure between schools at the onset of re-engaging with student-athletes on campus.”

“This plan is designed to allow for the best possible opportunity for a wholesome spring season that will include AACPS athletic competition for the first time since March of 2020,” Superintendent George Arlotto wrote in a news release. “While we had all hoped to offer competition for student-athletes in all of our sports, that is simply not possible for us at this point.”


Fall sports include football, soccer, cross country, cheerleading, golf, field hockey, volleyball and unified tennis, while the spring sports are lacrosse, baseball, softball, tennis, outdoor track and field and unified bocce.

Culp said AACPS opted to give spring sports a complete season “in order to maximize opportunities” for those who lost an entire season last school year and to make sure the sports season finishes before high school graduations.

“In reviewing all of the variables and options available, we felt it was best to do everything we can to prioritize the spring season and do so prior to graduations,” Culp added. “It is never our intention to forgo a competitive season for any of our sports, but given where we are right now we feel this is the best path forward and something we hope to be able to stay the course with for the remainder of the school year.”

AACPS held a similar hybrid format in October for fall sports, but all in-person extracurricular activities were suspended Nov. 9 because of rising numbers of coronavirus cases. At least eight positive coronavirus cases were reported during the three weeks of sessions. The county says the same health and safety protocols will be in place when the hybrid program resumes next month. Masks will be required for everyone at all times and indoor groups will be limited to 20 student-athletes.

Culp said the county does not have a particular metric or case rate it must stay under for the spring season to continue uninterrupted. He said it will be “based on a cumulation of many factors, most notably the latest county, state, and federal guidance.”

Severna Park boys lacrosse coach Dave Earl said his phone has been “blowing up” since the announcement.

“Everybody’s really excited to get after it again,” he said. “Now we can get back to work.”

“I’m just really excited for the kids,” he added. “It’s been really tough on them and I really applaud the county on making this decision and giving spring sports a complete season and let the kids return to some sense of normalcy. I think it was an excellent decision.”


Earl’s Falcons have enjoyed a string of success in recent years, as they were aiming to win their fifth straight state championship before the pandemic canceled the 2020 spring sports season. He’s excited to see what this 2021 team will bring.

“We’ve got a really good group of returners,” Earl said. “They’re really strong, high-character kids, and we’re just excited to get back out there on the practice field with them, not to mention the opportunity to compete in games. I think the biggest thing is we’re just going to want to go in and make sure these kids have the most positive experience they can.”

Annapolis High football coach Nick Good-Malloy said he always remained hopeful there would be a fall sports season that would include competitions. He acknowledged there have been so many ups and downs that “there’s a fine line between wanting to keep kids involved and positive and kind of misleading them,” something he said is “a balancing act.”

He noted the few weeks of practices the team got in October and November were great but he understands there is a bigger picture to this that goes beyond sports.

“With everything that’s going on and so many people losing their lives and being sick and so many people losing loved ones, I mean for us to be able to get out there and get out on the field and have fun and work together was definitely great,” he said.

Varsity Highlights


Get the latest high school sports stories, photos and video from around the region.

Good-Malloy, however, was quick to point out that while practice is great for coaches, kids want to play games. Now, the seniors have officially lost any opportunity to do just that one last time.


The coach also said he’s worried about some of his football players losing motivation in school since many student-athletes know they need to stay academically eligible to play sports. Ultimately, Good-Malloy said he believes those in leadership positions are doing the best they can to navigate a difficult situation.

“Athletics are a big motivating factor for them to go to school, to attend classes, to maintain satisfactory grades, to make good decisions as far as staying out of trouble and staying fit. I mean, the list goes on and on,” he said. “If you don’t have games to use as a motivating factor; I know a lot of students — not just student-athletes — have struggled. That’s definitely something that concerns me with the student-athletes, not being able to have that be a motivating and positive factor for them to do well in a number of areas.”

Carroll County is the only local school system in Maryland currently conducting a high school season. Baltimore-area private schools competing in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland and Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association have the option to begin winter sports this month.

AACPS’ winter sports season, which began virtually in early December, never returned to action and will finish in a virtual format Feb. 13. Culp said the county “will be looking at ways to offer special programs later in the spring specifically for fall and winter sport seniors, under MPSSAA and COMAR guidelines.”

The MPSSAA on Aug. 3 postponed the fall and winter seasons because of coronavirus concerns. That decision came after the 2020 spring season was canceled on April 28. No Anne Arundel public high school interscholastic competitions have taken place since March 7, the second day of the state basketball tournament quarterfinals, which were postponed the day of the semifinals March 12 and later canceled.

Arlotto said the school system is continuing to examine a similar hybrid resumption for other high school extracurricular activities. Later Tuesday, the school system also announced that teachers and staff have to return to buildings by Feb. 17 ahead of the return for hybrid learning.