Saturday, April 10, 2021

MHSA releases spring sports guidelines, big track meets possible

Staff Report | March 24, 2021 1:00 AM

The Montana High School Association released recommendations for spring sports Friday, with the most eye-catching being the possibility of larger track and field meets.

While dual and triangular meets are recommended and encouraged, the MHSA did include participation limits for bigger meets.

For meets with four to 10 teams, there can be no more than five entries per team per event. For 11 to 20 teams the limit drops to four; and for 20 to 25 teams it drops to three.

Schools would need to check with local county health boards on holding multi-team meets, but it leaves open the possibility of a meet the size of the annual Archie Roe Invitational, which is not on the schedule this spring in Kalispell.

Reached Friday by the Daily Inter Lake, MHSA executive director Mark Beckman noted Friday’s recommendations, directives and requirements had to wait until the executive board had a feel for how the pandemic would affect things going forward. But, he confirmed, bigger meets are on the table.

“If they want to adjust, they can,” Beckman said. “That’s up to them.

“We encourage the duals and triangular and then if they want to have bigger meets they can follow that criteria.”

The Whitefish track and field team opens its season against Flathead and Bigfork at Legends Stadium in Kalispell on April 6.

Other recommendations are that multi-team softball tournaments can be held if at a complex with more than one field, and entry and exit is controlled; likewise with tennis, duals are encouraged but multi-team events can be held at venues with multiple courts.

The Whitefish boys tennis team kicks off the season at Columbia Falls while the girls play the Wildkats at Grouse Mountain courts on April 8.

Whitefish is trying to field a JV softball team, but the details are still unclear on whether there will be a team.

As far as guidelines regarding spectators attending the events, MHSA is leaving that up to the individual schools in consultation with their local health departments. And facial coverings must be worn according to the individual school’s policy on face masks.