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C.O. coaches, student athletes react to state relaxing rules for indoor contact sports

(Update: adding video, new info, comments from coaches, student-athletes)

Basketball, wrestling seasons now allowed across all county risk levels with submitted plan, under new OHA metrics

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Basketball and wrestling are two high school sports which have been waiting on the sidelines while others got the green light. Both remained on Gov. Kate Brown’s prohibited list of activities -- until now.

Updated county risk level metrics from the Oregon Health Authority released Tuesday lift the ban on indoor full-contact sports, as long as schools have a submitted plan. OHA has not released that form yet, but the Oregon School Activities Association told NewsChannel 21 on Wednesday it will likely be similar to the one used for outdoor sports.

“Every month or two, I have to come to the team with another set of bad news, and a new schedule,” said Summit High School Boys Basketball Head Coach Jon Frazier. “This is kind of the first time I've been able to come to them with some real positive news, and something they can be excited about."

Ava Dennis, a senior on the Bend Senior High School girls basketball team, told NewsChannel 21 Wednesday it was difficult to live in the dark, not knowing if a season was ever going to happen.

“It's really hard to motivate yourself to come to practice every day when you're like, 'We don't know if we're going to have games,’” she said.

Even though Dennis admitted she's a bit skeptical about the announcement, she was all smiles when talking about the chance to play again.

“This whole year, it just felt like we keep getting pushed back, it's not going to happen for us,” she said. “As a senior, I want to be able to lead our teammates and be, like, 'Hey, we've got to do this now. We have a purpose.’”

Ben Sather, a senior at Crook County High, was ready to retire and graduate early when his wrestling season was in doubt. However, he decided to stick around -- and now, he's glad he did.

“I have two more months, then I'm graduated,” Sather told NewsChannel 21. “Then I have to work the rest of my life. So I wanted to do something fun, that I like doing."

Now that indoor contact sports can tip off, new challenges are in play, like scheduling and limited fan attendance.

"It's always something,” joked Frazier.

An OHA representative told NewsChannel 21 fan attendance will coincide with the occupancy limits outlined in the updated county risk metrics. Athletes, coaches, referees and spectators all count toward the maximum occupancy limits.

Central Oregon / Crook County / Deschutes County / News / Top Stories
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Max Goldwasser

Max Goldwasser is a reporter and producer for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Max here.



  1. “Scarred for life” ! Yup- every single one of these kovid kids will be scarred for life from Kovid Kate’s illegal closures of schools- activities- and social events. And Kate did it with contempt for Oregonians- of which she is not a native- she did it out of hate- not out of hard core science- or recommendations by the CDC… Brown did this out of anger- that the white people in this state must suffer ! They must be punished for their success- their freedoms- their capitalism ! make no mistake- Kate Brown has attacked you all- on both sides of the aisle- and she’s enjoyed it ! If she didn’t- she would have pulled her knee of yer throats months ago !

  2. I’m happy for these kids and think they should have been playing indoor sports all along. However based on the SCIENCE, I have to ask how is this ok now while we are having so many more infections then we were months ago? If there is such an extreme risk out there and not everyone has had or wants the vaccine then this seems like more BS cherry picked rules and regulations. Let them play, let us open, go without masks and get back to it.

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