West De Pere temporarily pauses sports
By Rich Palzewic
DE PERE – Along with its decision to temporarily move instruction to online, West De Pere High School has also paused its athletics until at least Monday, Oct. 19.
The decision was made because of high COVID-19 cases in the community.
“When we decided to temporarily pause things, our (COVID-19) numbers at the school were low,” said athletic director Scott Eggert. “Hopefully, the date of our return doesn’t change, but we don’t know yet.”
Eggert said the school will decide about Oct. 14 whether to return to sports and in-school instruction.
“If the COVID-19 cases were lower in the community, we’d have kids in the building as we speak,” he said.
In the case of football, the Phantoms played one game Sept. 25 (a 43-39 loss to Hortonville) but had games Oct. 2 (Kaukauna), Oct. 9 (Notre Dame Academy) and Oct. 16 (Seymour) canceled.
The game against Notre Dame wouldn’t have happened anyway after the Tritons moved their football season to the spring earlier last week.
With three contests off the schedule, West De Pere could be down to four games total this fall in what was supposed to be a seven-game, regular-season schedule.
“If we are back on the 19th, we could get some practices in and be ready to play Oct. 23,” Eggert said. “It would be nice to get back playing again for the kids.”
As long as schools don’t complete more than 50 percent of their games/practices this fall, they can still change to the spring.
“I’m trying not to think about that possibility,” said Eggert. “We’re hoping to play now – nothing is guaranteed for the spring, either, so we’d like to keep this thing going.”
The girls’ golf season was already completed before the pause, but the girls’ tennis team completed too many contests and won’t be able to compete next spring.
Eggart said he’s hoping the other fall sports can begin again upon return.
“The girls’ tennis team would have been in subsectionals (the week of Oct. 5),” Eggart said. “If we get back as scheduled, boys’ and girls’ cross country, boys’ soccer and volleyball will be able to participate in their respective tournament series.”