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High school winter sports hopeful to start seasons

Lansing WILX-TV logo Lansing WILX-TV 1/11/2021 Natalie Kerwin
a group of men playing a game of football: Caileb played for the Dewitt Panthers and spent his whole life in the shadow of Michigan State Basketball. © Provided by Lansing WILX-TV Caileb played for the Dewitt Panthers and spent his whole life in the shadow of Michigan State Basketball.

EAST LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - The latest COVID-19 emergency orders from the Michigan Department of Health are set to expire this Friday, Jan. 15. If it is lifted, the Michigan High School Athletic Association plans to allow winter sports practices to begin.

The fall sports season has felt never-ending, but it’s finally winding down, and winter sports are ready to start but they have to do so quickly.

“Somehow between Saturday the 16th, we’ll have to get tryouts in, practice for about four days, and then be ready to play East Lansing on Friday the 22nd,” said Haslett men’s basketball coach Chris Smith. “So, you’ll have six days to get ready for your first game.”

Teams are waiting for the go-ahead from the state and the department of health to start practices. During the fall, they were working out in small groups until the pause began on Nov. 18.

“For us, that’s when it really changed,” said Smith. “We have not been able to be in the building at all since then.”

“I haven’t seen them personally in two months because we haven’t been able to do anything,” said Lansing Everett men’s basketball coach Trey Adams. “I’m not allowed to have contact with them as far as me personally working out with them or practicing or anything.”

If Governor Whitmer pushes things back, the MHSAA will have to come up with another plan. If all goes well Friday, teams can get together starting Saturday.

“I’m expecting it to be a lot different,” said Smith. “We’re gonna have to gauge ourselves on how hard you get kids running right away because not only are they not in the same physical shape they are in a normal year, they’re also wearing a mask so that’s gonna make it tough.”

Teams will be going through some adversity, but they’re ready to have a sense of normalcy.

“Everybody’s going through it, it’s not just us. We can’t cry about it,” said Adams. “People are lacking conditioning. People are lacking team chemistry. I’m just seeing how they respond to it.”

“I do get a lot of texts from kids asking ‘when are we gonna be able to go?’ and you can tell it bothers them,” said Smith. “Hopefully we get the chance and we get some good news this week.”

As of now, no announcement has been made about whether Whitmer will extend the emergency orders.

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