BREAKING: UIL cancels sports for the remainder of 2019-2020 season
HOUSTON - The 2019-2020 high school sports season is officially over.
The University Interscholastic League announced on Friday, following the Governor of Texas Greg Abbott's executive order to close schools for the remainder of the year, that the remainder of athletic events would not be completed.
"Our staff had been working hard on plans to resume activities this spring, but without schools in session, interscholastic activities cannot continue," said UIL Executive Director Dr. Charles Breithaupt in a press release. "Our highest priority during this challenging time is ensuring the health and safety of our students and communities and making progress in the containment of COVID-19 in Texas. We are now turning our attention to the 2020-2021 school year."
Earlier in the day, Abbott issued his executive order.
"The team of doctors advising us have determined that it would be unsafe to allow students to gather at schools for the foreseeable future," Abbott said during his news conference on Friday. "As a result school classrooms are closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year."
According to the UIL Press Release practices, rehearsals, and workouts remain suspended until further notice and their previous information about remote instruction remain in place.
"I am grateful to the UIL staff for their leadership and dedication to students," said UIL Legislative Council Chair Curtis Rhodes. "Together we will get through this and we look forward to the day students are once again able to participate in education-based interscholastic activities."The one sport that had reached the state championship level was boys basketball, which was at the beginning of playing the tournament when things began to be shut down.
No Final Tip-Off for Basketball
Four Houston-area schools had reached the UIL Boys Basketball State Tournament, including Dickinson which was playing in its first state tournament since 1955,
"It's just a blow that I really feel bad for them," Dickinson coach Jason Wilson said. "Just words can't describe how bad I feel for them. I saw them this whole year and how they stayed focused on the vision to play for a state championship. Not being able to fulfill that dream and that goal, I'm just speechless."
Currently, the team can't get together due to social distancing policies. With seven seniors on this team - including Guy V. Lewis award winner Tramon Mark - Wilson said he will be working with district officials to be sure to honor that class "in some type of way".
Being one of the final four teams in Texas isn't easy, especially coming out of Houston.
Wilson realizes that, which makes this part harder to swallow knowing what it took to even get to the Alamodome and now he and his team is left with an unfinished feeling.
"A lot of things have to go right in order for you to get there," Wilson said. "You've got thousands of coaches out there with unbelievable careers and the main goal is to get to this point and play for a state championship. I thought we had a really good chance of winning it. Don't know when that opportunity will present itself again, Because Houston basketball is so tough.
"You could be there one year and the next year, there's another upcoming team. I'm just trying to enjoy what I can out of it right now. But it certainly feels unfinished."
Fort Bend Hightower, Stafford and Jack Yates also reached the UIL Boys Basketball State Tournament as well.
Soccer Halted on Verge of Playoff
The next closest sport to the playoffs was soccer. There were only a couple of matches left on the schedule before the playoff slate would have began. Houston had some top teams in the state.
On the boys' side, Alief Elsik, Seven Lakes and Tompkins were the Top 3 for Region III-6A. In Class 5A, Kingwood Park, Sharpstown and Wisdom were the Top 3 for Region III. On the girls' side Kingwood Park was ranked first, while Friendswood and Tomball were ranked third and fourth in Region III-5A. In Class 6A, Tompkins, Kingwood and Ridge Point were the Top 3 for Region III.
No Final Race for the Trackstars
Other sports were just getting going. Track and field had held a few meets with the coveted Texas Relays on the horizon before the shutdown began.
According to Milesplit.com, Fort Bend Marshall and Klein Forest boys track 4x100 and 4x200-meter relay teams owned the fastest times in the country, respectively. The Woodlands' Carter Bajoit owned the best high jump (7-0) and Klein Forest's Maurice Westmoreland had the best discus throw (204-6) in the nation.
On the girl's side, Fort Bend Bush's Laila Owens had the best 400-meter dash time (54.37), Cinco Ranch's Heidi Nielson had the top 1600-meter race time (4:47:90), Cypress Lakes' KeAyla Dove had the best shot put throw (49-5) and Clear Falls had the top 4x400-meter relay time at 3:44.68.
These and numerous other athletes and teams had great shots to shine in Austin during the first weekend of May.
Other spring sports that were cut short included golf, tennis, baseball and softball. This is officially the end of the 2019-2020 season, which means the next athletic event that could happen is volleyball reporting to practice on August 1 and football on August 3.