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Comets sports on hold again

SoVaNow.com / January 18, 2021


As Halifax County High School athletics prepared to have opening night for winter sports Jan. 4, girls varsity basketball coach David Graham said at the time, “if we can just get a schedule in this year then we’ve had a winning year.”

That comment may become the mantra of how the HCHS Comets winter-sports season – for good or bad – plays out for basketball, wrestling and swim teams. With the first three weeks of all scheduled sports postponed a chance to record that first “W” will have to wait.

This week’s games were put on hold as COVID-19 numbers throughout the Piedmont District continued to surge. All practices for the week have been canceled for the Comets.

The lockout this week affected three basketball matchups for the varsity girls and boys teams. Tuesday and Saturday games with Tunstall and a Friday challenge against Patrick County were postponed.

Comet wrestling and swim had Wednesday and Friday competitions put on hold. Magna Vista and Martinsville were the respective opponents.

Last week HCHS athletics director Allen Lawter said that the Comets would continue to move forward on having winter sports seasons for student-athletes. High schools throughout Virginia are having to make some hard decisions regarding playing during a pandemic.

Just in the last week several large sports programs known for producing elite high school student-athletes have called off winter sports. Hampton Roads-area schools suffered this fate last week, with Hampton, Portsmouth, Newport News, Suffolk and other school districts giving winter sports a respite this year.

Greg Giesen with 757Teamz of the Virginia Pilot in his Jan. 15 article entitled - It was a rough week for many Hampton Roads athletes as COVID-19 wiped out another high school season - “In less than a week, the number of Hampton Roads public schools participating in the winter sports season fell from 49 to 19. Only 39 percent of the region’s public schools will have a winter season.”

So, what the Comets and schools in the Piedmont District are trying to accomplish is no easy task. There was a definite shift this past week across the spectrum of high schools in the state in calling off winter sports seasons.

Some school divisions even joined Mecklenburg County in canceling winter and fall sports this year all together. Until last week Bluestone and Park View high schools were the only VHSL member schools with two canceled seasons.

Buckingham County, Richmond, Surry County, and Sussex County have now canceled winter and fall sports this year.

The VHSL released its latest list of schools not participating in winter sports on Friday. Within a week the number of schools not playing grew to 71 from 42 schools on Dec. 8.

The number of schools in delay of winter sports – which includes Halifax County - dropped as school divisions either committed to play out their respective schedules or called of winter sports. On Friday, 23 schools were in delay mode versus Jan. 8 when 56 schools were in delay.

Even with these numbers a good amount of schools are finding some success playing. Schools even somewhat close to home.

Last week Lynchburg’s E.C. Glass basketball team hosted Heritage. Glass competes in the Seminole District and member schools have been successfully holding competitions in basketball, wrestling, and swim.

What happens in the next few days regarding how the coronavirus is affecting local communities will determine if the Comets compete next week. Lawter said Comet student-athletes and coaches will be ready to roll once they can get the green light.

“We’re going to play as many games as we can when we’re allowed to play,” Lawter said.



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