Minnesota State High School League approves winter sports tournaments

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Tre Holloman remembers last year’s state basketball tournament well— his team played the last game before COVID-19 shut everything down.

"Coach told us that it might be our last game so just go out there and play, so that’s what we did," he recalled.

Holloman’s football season at Cretin-Derham Hall ended without a state tournament option last fall, so to hear tournaments are back was welcome news.

"It was good, it was great, I’m just so happy and so excited to be playing and being here with my teammates," Holloman said.

Between March 10 and April 10, barring any COVID-19 surges or changes, state tournaments will be held for Nordic and alpine skiing, dance, boys swimming and diving, wrestling, gymnastics, hockey at Xcel Energy Center, and basketball at Target Center.

"It’s going to be a busy time, my hope is that we can get all those events in so these kids can have the experiences that they deserve," said Tom Dasovich, activities director for Lakeville South High School.

There will be changes— Nordic skiing will likely have half the participants they have in a normal year due to a number of restrictions.

Competitions are being scheduled to limit travel and hotel stays.

The focus is on championship brackets this year, and there will not be consolation play.

And some sports, like dance, gymnastics and likely wrestling, will compete at metro high schools instead of at the University of Minnesota or a professional stadium.

"If we give them that opportunity, I don’t care if it’s in Cretan-Derham Hall‘s gym or in the Target Center, we just want to make sure we’re able to give them that opportunity," Cretin-Derham Hall Athletic Director Phil Archer said.

"To be able to see that they’re (Minnesota State High School League) caring about giving these kids an opportunity to have something, where they are working toward, is a huge deal," Archer added.

Spectator decisions will depend on the venue and any pandemic restrictions come competition time.

"I think people are doing a wonderful job following protocols and my hope would be that that continues so our kids have an opportunity to have that experience in March and April," Dasovich added.

For students and districts, despite the unusual school year, this brings back a bit of normalcy.

"Today is a great day, a positive day and we’re really happy moving forward," Dasovich said.