(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.