Status of Fall Sports
The Westlake City School District and the Westlake Demon Athletic Department understand that in these unique times we have had to adapt to the environment. Our district leadership is proud of our student-athletes and our coaches for taking the steps to keep both staff and teams healthy. We applaud the hard work of the student-athletes that have been attending our Phase 1 workouts in these uncertain times, preparing themselves hopefully for a fall season. We also applaud our parents for enforcing positive attitudes and keeping their attention to the requirements (wearing a mask to and from, bringing their own water source, trying to stay distanced) at the forefront. It will become even more important as we move forward in our quest for fall season to be aware of environments to avoid to prevent any type of community spread of this virus.
As we know, the Southwestern Conference contains schools that are both from Lorain County and Cuyahoga County. This creates a unique situation within our conference and other conferences across Northeast Ohio that stretch through more than one county, in that we receive guidance from different county health boards. This makes equity a very tough thing to obtain when speaking about athletics.The messaging from the Ohio High School Athletic Association has been slow to come out and has conflicted with local recommendations and State level orders. This has impacted responses from Athletic Departments across Ohio. In Northeast Ohio, there has been a weekly Zoom call with over 150 athletic directors since April. The purpose of the call is to discuss and share ideas on return to play protocols, alternative schedules and other pertinent information. The SWC AD’s have had a call weekly and sometimes twice a week to discuss where each school is in their preparation and what schedules may look like moving forward in all fall sports.
Fall sport practices began on August 1st. The Westlake City School District chose to have our fall sport teams start in a modified OHSAA Phase 1 with conditioning occurring in small groups outside without equipment in the sports of football, soccer, volleyball and cross country. Our golf and girls tennis teams were able to move on with their season. Many of the surrounding Cuyahoga County schools initially suspended all extra-curricular activities including athletics but most have resumed in some capacity.
Because of the great work our student-athletes and coaches have shown to adhere to protocols to the best of their abilities, we feel comfortable in announcing that per Board of Education approval, the following recommendations will be made:
Boys and Girls Soccer
The Boys and Girls Soccer teams will be permitted to move to Phase 2 workouts, which will still involve small groups but they will be permitted to use equipment (balls) starting on Monday, August 17th and continuing to August 18th. They will move to Phase 3 on Wednesday, August 19th which will also be their first day of tryouts. The intent is to have tryouts on the 19th and 20th with the first two official practices being Friday, August 21st and Saturday August 22nd. In consultation with both Coach Kuns of Boys Soccer and Coach Rimko of Girls Soccer, they would like to begin the season as scheduled on Wednesday, August 25th against North Olmsted High School (Boys would be playing away and Girls would be playing home). The schedule is subject to change based on availability and ability to play per school but we feel comfortable that the SWC schedule will be able to be played intact. Competition is all subject to the Governor lifting the contact sport order that currently prohibits school to school play.
The Girls Volleyball team will be permitted to move to Phase 2 workouts in the gymnasiums, which will still involve small groups but permitted to use all equipment starting Monday, August 17th. They will remain in Phase 2 August 18th. Starting on August 19th, the team will be permitted to move to Phase 3 in order to conduct two days of tryouts. The team will have their first official practices on Friday, August 20th and Saturday August 21st. In consultation with Coach Spriggs, at this time it will be our intent to open up the season on Tuesday, August 24th hosting North Olmsted High School. We will most likely make some adjustments to our schedule (canceling the quads we were supposed to host) but the SWC schedule should remain intact.
The Cross Country teams by nature of their sport have been running in small groups so they will be in Phase 2. They will remain in this phase until August 24th, when they will move to Phase 3 which will allow our coaches to better match groups with runners of equal times. They will still be maintaining groups of 10 but will have flexibility within this phase to move runners from group to group for competitiveness purposes. Scheduling for Cross Country is still in flux. Many of the larger invitationals we have attended in the past, have been postponed. The SWC is working on a tri meet/dual meet type schedule to give our runner opportunities to compete. We will also be seeking non-conference opportunities for dual or tri meets. Coach Romansky and Coach Haselswerdt were excited about the prospects of competing in some fashion.
The Football team will be permitted to move to Phase 2 workouts starting Monday, August 17th continuing to August 18th. During these two days, the team will still be in small groups but will be permitted to have helmets on and use footballs and other equipment. Starting on Wednesday, August 20th, they would be permitted to move to Phase 3 but no contact with shoulder pads on Wednesday and Thursday. Friday would be full equipment practice but not contact. The completion of these five days will fulfill the OHSAA requirements for acclimatization and allow us to begin normal practices on Saturday. The football team will not follow the typical SWC schedule. Other SWC schools, primarily in Lorain County, have been practicing in Phase 3. In consultation with Coach LaRocco and the nature of the sport of football, we believed that the first week of August 28th did not give us ample time to prepare to play a game. We will play a revised schedule that would include Cuyahoga County teams that have been following a similar practice timeline. This schedule will be released later this week. The OHSAA approved a 6 game schedule, with all teams making the playoffs in Week 7, and being allowed to continue to complete a 10 week season either within the playoffs or if eliminated in Weeks 8-10.
Girls Tennis and Boys and Girls Golf
These teams will continue their seasons as planned. There may be adjustments to the schedule based on various sites rules and regulations. These will be communicated through their coaches.
By nature of their sport, the cheerleaders will continue their current practices which include distancing.
At this time, our LBMS athletic teams will be delayed in their start. We hope to provide more information on these teams in the very near future.
The following is a list of pertinent information:
- All student-athletes participating must have an updated physical on file in the athletic office. If you are unsure, please contact the athletic department.
- We still expect all athletes to arrive and depart from their practices with masks on.
- All athletes will bring their own water sources to practice.
- There will be no use of locker rooms at this time.
- We are still awaiting more specific information on fans/spectators in the sports of volleyball, soccer and football.
- Parents and Student-athletes are encouraged to self check for any symptoms before attending any practice. If you have symptoms, please inform the coach and all coaches have said any absences due to symptoms will be excused. We need to work together to keep each other safe.
- If a student-athlete exhibits symptoms during a practice, the coach has been instructed to remove them and place them in isolation until they can safely return home.
- All of our coaches will be taking the National Federation of High Schools online course “Covid-19 Course for Coaches and Administrators”.
- The coach of your sport will be sending more information regarding practice times, etc.
Please remember that we are all in this together. Please remember to distance, mask, sanitize and wash your hands and equipment frequently.
We will continually monitor the information from the Governor, the Ohio Department of Health and the OHSAA to adapt to any changes.
For any questions or concerns, please contact Mr. Cipollone at firstname.lastname@example.org.