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After a hopeful holdout, NH spring sports season canceled

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 4/16/2020 9:26:20 PM
Modified: 4/16/2020 9:26:09 PM

CONCORD — New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association executive director Jeff Collins had an Exeter High senior at home when he had to share some bad news on Thursday. It was no easier delivering it to his son than it was sending it to the rest of the state.

The NHIAA officially canceled the spring sports season on Thursday afternoon minutes after Gov. Chris Sununu announced that the state’s schools would be closed to students for the remainder of the school year, with remote learning plans continuing. Following Sununu’s lead last month, the NHIAA had targeted a May 4 start for spring workouts and a May 13 start of play.

In a phone interview, Collins said the NHIAA Executive Council discussed the situation on Thursday at a previously scheduled meeting. The association received a call from the state education department about Sununu’s plans an hour before the governor’s 2 p.m. news conference.

“With no school, there really is no sports,” Collins said. “It’s unfortunate. The state has to do what it has to do to keep people safe and we do as well, but you have to feel for the kids, especially the seniors.”

The coronavirus pandemic led the NHIAA to cut short remaining winter tournaments in early March.

“The kids get it,” Collins said. “The sacrifices they’ve had to make with regard to senior year — prom, graduation, senior week activities — it’s hard, but it’s all being done to save lives. That’s the bottom line.”

Collins said in a news release that he’s hopeful the combination of state orders and national guidelines will slow the virus’s spread enough to bring schools and sports back this fall.

The Vermont Principals Association has set an April 30 deadline to decide on its spring campaign. Gov. Phil Scott recently extended a statewide stay-at-home order to May 15, and Vermont schools are closed to in-person instruction for the year.

Twin State lax canceled

HANOVER — The Hanover Lions Club canceled its Byrne Cup Twin State All-Star Lacrosse Games on Thursday.

The contests pit top graduating high school seniors from Vermont and New Hampshire in girls and boys games at Hanover High. The showdowns, which would have been the 28th for the boys and 25th for the girls, were scheduled for June 20.

“With the uncertainty surrounding everything these days, the club felt it did not want to do anything that might potentially endanger anyone,” director Star Johnson said in an email. “With the preparation lead time needed to organize the event, it just didn’t make sense to wait too much longer to make the decision.”

The Byrne Cup games join the Twin State Lions Cup on the summer sidelines. Organizers of the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl indicated this week they are still hoping to stage their event on Aug. 1 at Castleton University.

Greg Fennell can be reached at or 603-727-3226.

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