LHSAA officially cancels spring sports, powerlifting championships

LaMar Gafford Spencer Urquhart
Alexandria Town Talk
LHSAA logo

Whatever glimmer of hope the high school spring athletes had that their seasons would be played eventually was taken away Thursday.

The LHSAA canceled the remainder of its spring sports seasons for the 2019-20 school year Thursday due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition the LHSAA powerlifting championships — the lone winter sport championships to not finish — were also cancelled.

More:STM twins ready to find their identities playing softball at different colleges

More:High schools prepare for trickle-down effects of extra NCAA eligibility

"This decision was not in haste and was discussed with tremendous concern for those senior athletes being affected," LHSAA executive director Eddie Bonine said in a memo.

"We realize and concur with the argument about returning to normalcy and allowing seniors to have their moment, just like we did for the boys basketball championships, unfortunately, circumstances today are tremendously different than circumstances were that week in March."

On April 2, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards extended the state's stay-at-home order to April 30, and there have been 18,283 confirmed cases and 702 deaths in the state according to the Louisiana Department of Health's updated COVID-19 statistics from Thursday.

More:Breaux Bridge baseball still hoping to find redemption

More:Ascension baseball team trying to make the best of downtime

More:Teurlings pitcher Connor Macip developing into ace before stoppage of play

The spring cancellation was especially tough — though not unexpected — for senior-heavy groups like the Lafayette High Mighty Lions baseball team, who were ranked No. 1 in Class 5A prior to the stoppage of play.

"It wasn't a surprise," Mighty Lions head coach Sam Taulli said. "But we were still holding out hope. It's just a really bitter pill to swallow, especially for these seniors. Everything was falling into place for us, then it happened. It just goes to show you can't take things for granted because you never know when it might be your last game."

The Mighty Lions had a total of 10 seniors and felt like this was their year to finally break through and win their first state title in school history after finishing as state runners-up four times.

"I sent them all a letter saying how bad I felt for them," Taulli said. "It's hard to put into words how you feel when your season ends as the No. 1 team in the state. We felt like it was our year; we had such great group of kids. At least we can say we went out as the No. 1 team."

The Notre Dame softball team was looking to win its third-straight state title, and the Pioneers were holding out hope that the season could be extended into the summer.

"It was definitely a sad day," Lady Pios head coach Dale Serie said. "We were optimistic and hoping we could play through May and into June. I talked to the players about it, and they were all in. Getting this news was devastating for the players. We understand the severity of the situation, but it's just not easy."

The good news for the Lady Pios is that their entire starting lineup will return next season, including LSU commits Maci Bergeron and Abigail Savoy.

"We'll be returning all our starters next year," Serie said. "If there's a silver lining, it's that we'll be able to compete at a high level again next year. We were hoping to push it to three (state titles), I really liked our chances this year. This group knew how to handle adversity really well. I told the girls that we'll get back to softball, just not sure when."

According to Bonine, the LHSAA will discuss its plans for summer activities at a later date. 

"We understand the hardships and disappointments everyone, especially the class of 2020, is enduring due to the closure of schools' facilities, but our unwavering focus must now remain on doing our part by continuing to follow any/all mitigation measures set forth by our Governor."