SDHSAA prepares for winter sports season


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The fall sports season is in full swing, but the South Dakota High School Activities Association is already looking ahead to winter, and how to keep athletes and coaches safe in the face of COVID-19.

The fall sports calendar has been filled with postponements and cancellations due to COVID-19, but activities association executive director Dan Swartos is pleased with the efforts of individual schools.

“Overall, we’ve been really happy, we’ve been proud of our coaches and the kids, and the athletic directors locally, who have put a lot of time and thought into what they’re doing to minimize exposure, to minimize spread within their teams,” SDHSAA executive director Dan Swartos said.

The season hasn’t been without its challenges.

“From our perspective, it’s been the rescheduling and thinking through our state events and thinking about how we can change things up and keep things as normal as possible, but also make adjustments to ensure that we’re doing our part to do the best we can to limit exposure within these events,” Swartos said.

Their next and even bigger challenge is the winter sports season.

“On the sports side, there’s fewer sports to look at, but they’re all indoors and they involve more contact when you’re looking at wrestling and basketball,” Swartos said.

He calls wrestling the biggest haul, as it involves contact from start to finish of every match.

“We’ve had to take a really hard look at what we’re doing and how we approach contact in wrestling and how we approach that within practices and how tournaments are structured and limitations on the size of tournaments, things like that,” Swartos said.

Swartos says it’s taken a team effort to get this far, but especially wants to recognize local school administrators.

“They have an impossible job right now, and we’re just very thankful for everything that they’re doing and the cooperation that they’ve given us,” Swartos said.

The winter sports task force met for a third time on Monday. The South Dakota High School Activities Association Board of Directors will consider their recommendations at their next meeting on November 4th.

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