Wednesday, April 24, 2024

THE FRONT ROW WITH JASON ELLIOTT: Talking what is, instead of isn't

| August 29, 2020 1:20 AM

To answer one question, yes, I’ve missed high school sports since March.

And I understand, this isn’t going to be the typical year for any program due to the pandemic, and that’s just fine to me — as long as these kids are getting a chance to get back out on their field and court to do something again.

AT SOME point in the last five months, those typical calls to report scores were replaced with a lot of unknown by a lot of really, really good coaches in this area.

But the big thing is, that within the last two weeks, those calls have been replaced with the games getting started again, in some form.

There’s still some that are skeptical about getting back to playing, and that’s fine too.

Coeur d’Alene Charter’s boys soccer program, which advanced to state in its inaugural season in 2019, has been affected somewhat early on.

“Overall, we’re a little low on numbers because of COVID,” second-year Charter boys soccer coach Justin Nitti said. “Which is really hard as a new program. With the way that school ended last spring (when practices were canceled and coaches were unable to contact players), it was really hard to recruit new players and do any offseason work. There’s also some parents that are really timid about things right now and not letting their kids come out.”

Coeur d’Alene Charter had its opener this past Monday against Orofino postponed due to the Maniacs not having enough eligible players for the match. Priest River, another team in the Intermountain League, also had issues with eligible players earlier this week. St. Maries got the go-ahead to begin practices on Monday after originally having its start date pushed back from Aug. 10 to Sept. 10.

IT IS still to be determined if the girls will have their own bracket at the state wrestling tournament come February 2021 in Pocatello.

But the growth of the sport around the state will add to the tournament, whether it’s 2021 or 2022.

“Girls wrestling has been growing throughout the district and state,” Lakeland wrestling coach Rob Edelblute said. “Once, it was a handful of kids throughout the state. Now, we’re seeing a handful of girls on each team.”

Wen Suko and Savannah Kidwell of Lakeland competed during the 2019-20 season, often times against boys at tournaments.

“With girls wrestling, you open up the other half of the population to the sport,” Edelblute said. “Which not only adds to the number of athletes participating, but also fans and spectators. Creating girls tournaments, I see girls numbers jumping, with girls feeling more confident in competing against other girls at their weight.”

The Rollie Lane Invitational in Nampa, as well as the North Idaho Rumble in Coeur d’Alene have added a separate girls tournament in addition to the boys tournament in recent years.

SURE, NOBODY knows what the next few months will be like as the pandemic drags on. It’s possible that the high school wrestling season could be altered a little bit.

Nothing this year is for certain anymore when it comes to sports.

The nice thing has been, at least for a few weeks, coaches have been able to talk a lot more about what happened in a game instead of what didn’t.

Jason Elliott is a sports writer for The Press. He can be reached by telephone at (208) 664-8176, Ext. 2020 or via email at Follow him on Twitter @JECdAPress.