Games are back on
May 6, 2009
As of last Wednesday, the students on the spring athletic teams at Park City High School felt like they were in pretty good shape heading into the postseason.
However, the announcement on Thursday of three probable cases of swine flu among students in the district, and the confirmation of one case on Saturday, put the teams’ involvement in 3A state tournaments in jeopardy.
In the days leading up to a decision by the district and the Utah High School Activities Association (UHSAA), athletes, parents and coaches spoke out in support of allowing the games to continue. They argued that none of the players or high school students had been affected by the flu, and proposed that the athletes be tested to ensure that they were healthy.
On Tuesday morning, the teams finally got some good news. The Park City School District announced that the high school would reopen at the regular time on Wednesday and that all school-related activities for this week would continue as previously scheduled. The elementary and middle schools would remain closed until May 11.
According to Park City School District Superintendent Ray Timothy, the Summit County Department of Health made the recommendation to reopen the high school based on the number of cases in the area, the severity of the cases, and the fact that none of the probable cases involve high school students.
News spread quickly among members of the soccer team that they would be playing Carbon in the first round of state playoffs in Park City Tuesday at 5 p.m. "I was really shocked," said team co-captain Ben Portwood. "I was planning for the worst but hoping for the best. I feel very lucky that we get to play."
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Soccer quarter-finals have been rescheduled for Wednesday, May 13, and semi-finals and finals are expected to take place Friday and Saturday at West Jordan High School (not at Rio Tinto Stadium as was originally planned).
Park City baseball head coach Howard Hoyt also acted quickly to inform his players and prep the field for a regular season doubleheader against Uintah scheduled for 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday. "We knew it was either going to come down to a decision like they made today or we weren’t going to play at all," he said. "I think for the most part everybody, at least those involved in extracurricular activities, is happy with the decision."
Hoyt adds that although the team was advised against holding regular practices over the past few days, his players have been working out on their own and they’re prepared to play on such short notice. "They’re ready to go. They know how big a deal this is," he said.
Scott Chester, the head coach of the girls’ softball team, was also pleased with the decision to continue holding games, both on professional and personal levels. "For me, my daughter’s a senior, and I really had a hole in my heart thinking I was never going to get to see her play again, so I’m happy," he says.
However, Chester said it was going to be hard to nail down a schedule for the remaining regional games with so many factors up in the air. "It’s pretty crazy right now as a coach trying to sort out how to get it all in," he said. "Everyone’s scrambling, we’re doing the best we can, it’s just logistically a lot of things to deal with."
For the latest updates on softball games, visit http://www.ladyminerssoftball.com . The revised schedule of school activities will be posted on the Park City High School website, http://pchs.pcschools.us.
Editor’s note: As of press time, the baseball doubleheader versus Uintah had been changed to a single game, winner takes all, on Tuesday afternoon at 4:30. The softball game versus Uintah was cancelled due to transportation difficulties.