TOPEKA, Kan. — State tournament competition returns to Kansas high schools this weekend.
When champions receive their trophies at the KSHSAA Girls State Tennis Tournament on Saturday, it will be the first trophy ceremony since the state bowling tournament ended at Wichita on March 6. A total of 265 days separate the ceremonies.
The 2020-21 postseason is here, and the KSHSAA is excited to see students competing for awards at the end of their season. However, the real accomplishment has come in the ability to participate.
“We are very proud of the students, coaches and administrators who have faithfully adhered to the mitigation strategies put forth that have allowed us to progress through the fall season while also allowing teaching and learning to continue in schools,” said KSHSAA Executive Director Bill Faflick in a release.
To say the situation has been unprecedented is an understatement. The only remote parallel is when the Spanish Flu hit Kansas in 1918. History shows many high school games at the time were canceled. Teams were lucky to get half of a football season completed.
In 2020, the cancellations began with state basketball after the quarterfinal round. Eventually the entire spring sports seasons were canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As of this week, 98% of teams participating in an activity this fall are actively competing or have finished their season.
With girls state tennis and girls state golf (Oct. 19-20) to take place within a week, the KSHSAA plans to provide championships for all its fall activities. Modifications have been made to adhere to local health regulations and help mitigate risk at all upcoming events.
Postseason modifications include limiting spectator attendance to 50% capacity for ticketed events. The KSHSAA is working with host schools to ensure parents of participants are admitted into the game. The only exception is state cross country on Oct. 31 when attendance will be limited to an allotment given to qualifying schools.
Masks will be required for all spectators at KSHSAA events.
With limited attendance expected at the final locations for each event, the NFHS Network will provide live broadcasts of the following:
• State volleyball, Oct. 30-31: all contests, all locations;
• State gymnastics, Nov. 7: all events;
• Boys state soccer, Nov. 6-7: semifinals and finals, all locations;
• State football, Nov. 28: all games.