NFHS sets COVID-19 guidelines for summer workouts

SM-Tn Sports

The Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association recently distributed a pair of documents related to the restart of activities under COVID-19 guidelines to its membership, as programs begin offseason preparation for the fall sports seasons.

From the TSSAA:

The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Sports Medicine Advisory Committee recently released its Return to Sport Guidelines to state high school athletic associations across the country. You are receiving this document from TSSAA to serve as guidance for informational purposes.

What has become very clear is that policies enacted at the state, city, and local levels may ultimately determine whether or not you are able to engage in the specific types of activities described in this document. As a result, TSSAA is not in a position to develop policy regarding coordinated approaches to activity. The NFHS guidelines are based on the federal guidelines for the phased reopening of America.

We are not aware of a central repository of information that delineates what recovery phase your school or school system may be under. When using this document, you will need to consult with local authorities in determining which of the three phases would be appropriate for the development of your specific guidelines. 

We know that a number of you either have developed, or, are in the process of developing your own guidelines for your school or school system. We encourage you to review the attached document as you develop your school or school system policy. 

If you have access to the services of a certified athletic trainer, school nurse, office of coordinated school health, central office staff, governing boards and local health departments, consider collaboration with these individuals in an effort to develop specific plans that will enable kids to safely return to activities. As we become aware of additional resources that can assist you in this process, we will quickly pass those along. 

In addition to guidelines for practice and conditioning sessions, the NFHS document contains guidelines for contests. Questions about regular season contests, postseason tournaments, playoffs and state championships are matters that we believe are best addressed at a later date. We will continue to examine these issues in an effort to develop answers as new information and guidance becomes available. 

We know these are important issues, but our most urgent focus is on safely returning kids to activities this summer. Preliminary research strongly suggests that school closure and cancellation of activities is having a significant impact on the physical and mental health of students. It is our hope that this guiding document will help schools design specific plans that maximize opportunities for their students to return to activities while minimizing the risk for COVID-19 exposure.

From the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Sports Medicine Advisory Committee:

The COVID-19 pandemic presents state high school associations with a myriad of challenges. The NFHS Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC) offers this document as guidance on how state associations can consider approaching the many components of “opening up” high school athletics and activities across the United States. 

The NFHS SMAC believes it is essential to the physical and mental well-being of high school students across the nation to return to physical activity and athletic competition. The NFHS SMAC recognizes that it is likely that ALL students will not be able to return to – and sustain – athletic activity at the same time in all schools, regions and states. There will also likely be variation in what sports and activities are allowed to be played and held. While we would typically have reservations regarding such inequities, the NFHS SMAC endorses the idea of returning students to school-based athletics and activities in any and allsituations where it can be done safely. 

Since NFHS member state associations are a well-respected voice for health and safety issues, the NFHS SMAC strongly urges that these organizations engage with state and local health departments to develop policy regarding coordinated approaches for return to activity for high school, club and youth sports. 

The recommendations presented in this document are intended as ideas for state associations to consider with their respective SMACs and other stakeholders in designing return-to-activity guidelines that will be in accordance with state or local restrictions. 

Please note that the phases of “opening up” outlined below are based upon the White House document released in April 2020. Consult your state and local health departments to review if they are using a similar approach, or how the phases in this document correspond to your state or local governments nomenclature. 

Some state associations may wish to consider the following four questions before further deliberation on this document: 

1. Will your state association conduct an athletics/activities regular season or championship if public schools statewide are closed to in-person learning (apart from regularly scheduled school breaks)? 

2. Will your state association conduct an athletics/activities regular season or championship if schools are closed only in COVID-19 “hotspots” in your state? (excluding participants from schools that are closed)? 

3. Will your state association conduct an athletics/activities regular season in sports deemed “lower-risk” for COVID-19 transmission while cancelling athletics/activities considered “higher-risk?” 

4. Are there recommendations unique to your state – or regions of your state – that you need to take into consideration when developing return-to-activity guidelines? 

Points of Emphasis: 

1. Decreasing potential exposure to respiratory droplets is the guiding principle behind social distancing and the use of face coverings. It is also the basis of the stratification of risk by sport presented later on in this document. The use of cloth face coverings is meant to decrease the spread of respiratory droplets. As state and local COVID-19 prevalence decreases, the need for strict social distancing and the use of face coverings will lessen. Look to guidance from your state and local health departments. 

A. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is additionally “advising the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.”

B. Recognizing the benefits and potential drawbacks of the use of cloth face coverings during conditioning and physical activity, the NFHS SMAC recommends the following: 

i. State, local or school district guidelines for cloth face coverings should be strictly followed. 

ii. Cloth face coverings should be considered acceptable. There is no need to require or recommend “medical grade” masks for athletic activity. 

iii. Any student who prefers to wear a cloth face covering during a contest should be allowed to do so. 

iv. In the absence of guidelines to the contrary, we recommend that cloth face coverings be worn by students during Phases 1 and 2 as outlined below. Exceptions are swimming, distance running or other high intensity aerobic activity. Cloth face coverings may continue to be used during Phase 3 when not engaging in vigorous activity, such as sitting on the bench during contests, in the locker room and in the athletic training room. 

v. Plastic shields covering the entire face (or attached to a helmet) shall not be allowed during contests. Their use during practices increases the risk of unintended injury to the person wearing the shield or teammates. 

vi. Coaches, officials and other contest personnel may wear cloth face coverings at all times during Phases 1 through 3. (Artificial noisemakers such as an air horn or a timer system with an alarm can be used to signal in place of a traditional whistle.) 

2. Testing regimens, specific guidelines regarding mass gatherings, and response to a student or team member testing positive for COVID-19 (including contact tracing) are all currently under review, and guidance will come from CDC and state and local health departments. Limited testing availability, lack of resources for contact tracing, and expanding knowledge of the characteristics of COVID-19 transmission could all result in significant changes to the recommendations below. The NFHS SMAC and state association SMACs expect to disseminate this information as it becomes available. 

3. Due to the near certainty of recurrent outbreaks this coming fall and winter in some locales, state associations must be prepared for periodic school closures and the possibility of some teams having to isolate for two to three weeks while in-season. Development of policies is recommended regarding practice and/or competition during temporary school closures, the cancellation of contests during the regular season, and parameters for the cancellation or premature ending to post-season events/competitions. 

4. With the uncertainty of which phase will be attained at the beginning of a sports season or maintained during a season, scheduling contests that require less travel when possible should be considered. Such scheduling will reduce time spent in buses or vans. It will also potentially decrease the need for rescheduling contests as “opening up” may occur regionally. If opponents at the time of a contest are subject to different restrictions, re-scheduling that contest for a later date may be problematic. 

5. The principles presented in this guidance document can be applied to practices, rehearsals, and events for the performing arts with the exception of singing and the playing of wind instruments. The extent of the spread of respiratory droplets during these activities is currently under investigation and further guidance will issued as it becomes available. 

6. “Vulnerable individuals” are defined by CDC as people age 65 years and older and others with serious underlying health conditions, including high blood pressure, chronic lung disease, diabetes, obesity, asthma, and those whose immune systems are compromised such as by chemotherapy for cancer and other conditions requiring such therapy. 

7. Until a cure, vaccine or very effective treatment is readily available, or so-called “herd immunity” is confidently reached, social distancing and other preventive measures such as face covering will be a “new normal” if workouts, practices and contests are to continue. 

Areas to Address: 

1. Administrative 

A. Preparticipation Physical Evaluation 

Due to concerns regarding access to primary care providers during the late spring and early summer, the NFHS SMAC released a position statement giving guidance to state associations concerning timing of the Preparticipation Physical Evaluation. Options vary from a one-year extension to keeping current requirements. State associations and their SMACs can also consider interim history updates by having students complete a form or having a telemedicine visit with their primary care provider. 

B. Mandatory Education 

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused the cancellation of essentially all “in person” educational events. It is recommended that online education courses take the place of “hands on” or in-person training, whenever possible. This includes accepting online training courses for AED/CPR and First Aid for the 2020-21 academic year. 

C. Equipment Reconditioning 

The National Athletic Equipment Reconditioners Association (NAERA) has advised the NFHS that significant equipment reconditioning capacity is currently operational. If schools have not sent out equipment for reconditioning, they should be directed to do so immediately. If schools currently have equipment being reconditioned, a school official should contact the reconditioning company to make specific delivery arrangements if their school is currently closed. 

D. Conduct of Conditioning and Practice Sessions 

Phases are in accordance with guidelines published by the White House and CDC available at https://www.whitehouse.gov/openingamerica/. Please consult with your local or state health department regarding their plan for “opening up” your state. Not all states are using the same criteria, and what is allowable during specific phases will vary from state to state, or even within a state. Use the following as a resource in designing a plan for your state. Please note that there will be “gating” criteria to establish Phase 1 and the further criteria must be met to advance from one phase to the next. These criteria will be determined by state and/or local governments and must be strictly followed. 

Phase 1 

Pre- workout Screening: 

• All coaches and students should be screened for signs/symptoms of COVID-19 prior to a workout. Screening includes a temperature check. 

• Responses to screening questions for each person should be recorded and stored so that there is a record of everyone present in case a student develops COVID-19 (see Appendix II for sample Monitoring Form). 

• Any person with positive symptoms reported should not be allowed to take part in workouts and should contact his or her primary care provider or other appropriate health-care professional. 

• Vulnerable individuals should not oversee or participate in any workouts during Phase 1. 

Limitations on Gatherings: 

• No gathering of more than 10 people at a time (inside or outside). 

• Locker rooms should not be utilized during Phase 1. Students should report to workouts in proper gear and immediately return home to shower at end of the workout. 

• Workouts should be conducted in “pods” of students with the same 5-10 students always working out together. Smaller pods can be utilized for weight training. This ensures more limited exposure if someone develops an infection. 

• There must be a minimum distance of six feet between each individual at all times. If this is not possible indoors, then the maximum number of individuals in the room must be decreased until proper social distancing can occur. 

Facilities Cleaning: 

• Adequate cleaning schedules should be created and implemented for all athletic facilities to mitigate any communicable diseases. 

• Prior to an individual or groups of individuals entering a facility, hard surfaces within that facility should be wiped down and sanitized (chairs, furniture in meeting rooms, locker rooms, weight room equipment, bathrooms, athletic training room tables, etc.). 

• Individuals should wash their hands for a minimum of 20 seconds with warm water and soap before touching any surfaces or participating in workouts. 

• Hand sanitizer should be plentiful and available to individuals as they transfer from place to place. 

• Weight equipment should be wiped down thoroughly before and after an individual’s use of equipment. 

• Appropriate clothing/shoes should be worn at all times in the weight room to minimize sweat from transmitting onto equipment/surfaces. 

• Any equipment such as weight benches, athletic pads, etc. having holes with exposed foam should be covered. 

• Students must be encouraged to shower and wash their workout clothing immediately upon returning to home. 

Physical Activity and Athletic Equipment: 

• There should be no shared athletic equipment (towels, clothing, shoes, or sports specific equipment) between students. 

• Students should wear their own appropriate workout clothing (do not share clothing) individual clothing/towels should be washed and cleaned after every workout. 

• All athletic equipment, including balls, should be cleaned after each use and prior to the next workout. 

• Individual drills requiring the use of athletic equipment are permissible, but the equipment should be cleaned prior to use by the next individual. 

• Resistance training should be emphasized as body weight, sub-maximal lifts and use of resistance bands. 

• Free weight exercises that require a spotter cannot be conducted while honoring social distancing norms. Safety measures in all forms must be strictly enforced in the weight room. 

• Examples (including by limited to): o A basketball player can shoot with a ball(s), but a team should not practice/pass a single ball among the team where multiple players touch the same ball. o A football player should not participate in team drills with a single ball that will be handed off or passed to other teammates. Contact with other players is not allowed, and there should be no sharing of tackling dummies/donuts/sleds. o A volleyball player should not use a single ball that others touch or hit in any manner. o Softball and baseball players should not share gloves, bats, or throw a single ball that will be tossed among the team. A single player may hit in cages, throw batting practice (with netting as backstop, no catcher). Prior to another athlete using the same balls, they should be collected and cleaned individually. o Wrestlers may skill and drill without touching a teammate. o Cheerleaders may not practice/perform partner stunts or building. (Chants, jumps, dances without contact are permissible.) o Tennis players may do individual drills, wall volleys and serves. o Runners should maintain the recommended six feet of distancing between individuals 

Hydration: 

• All students shall bring their own water bottle. Water bottles must not be shared. 

• Hydration stations (water cows, water trough, water fountains, etc.) should not be utilized. 

Phase 2 

Pre-Workout/Contest Screening: 

• All coaches and students should be screened for signs/symptoms of COVID-19 prior to a workout. Screening includes a temperature check. 

• Responses to screening questions for each person should be recorded and stored so that there is a record of everyone present in case a student develops COVID-19 (see Appendix II for sample Monitoring Form). 

• Any person with positive symptoms reported should not be allowed to take part in workouts and should contact his or her primary care provider or other appropriate health-care professional. 

• Vulnerable individuals should not oversee or participate in any workouts during Phase 2. 

Limitations on Gatherings: 

• No gathering of more than 10 people at a time inside. Up to 50 individuals may gather outdoors for workouts. 

• If locker rooms or meeting rooms are used, there must be a minimum distance of six feet between each individual at all times. 

• Workouts should be conducted in “pods” of students with the same 5-10 students always working out together. Smaller pods can be utilized for weight training. This ensures more limited exposure if someone develops an infection. 

• There must be a minimum distance of six feet between each individual at all times. If this is not possible indoors, then the maximum number of individuals in the room must be decreased until proper social distancing can occur. Appropriate social distancing will need to be maintained on sidelines and benches during practices. Consider using tape or paint as a guide for students and coaches. 

Facilities Cleaning: 

• Adequate cleaning schedules should be created and implemented for all athletic facilities to mitigate any communicable diseases. 

• Prior to an individual or groups of individuals entering a facility, hard surfaces within that facility should be wiped down and sanitized (chairs, furniture in meeting rooms, locker rooms, weight room equipment, bathrooms, athletic training room tables, etc.). 

• Individuals should wash their hands for a minimum of 20 seconds with warm water and soap before touching any surfaces or participating in workouts. 

• Hand sanitizer should be plentiful and available to individuals as they transfer from place to place. 

• Weight equipment should be wiped down thoroughly before and after an individual’s use of equipment. 

• Appropriate clothing/shoes should be worn at all times in the weight room to minimize sweat from transmitting onto equipment/surfaces. 

• Any equipment such as weight benches, athletic pads, etc. having holes with exposed foam should be covered. 

• Students must be encouraged to shower and wash their workout clothing immediately upon returning to home. 

Physical Activity and Athletic Equipment: 

• Lower risk sports practices and competitions may resume (see Potential Infection Risk by Sport below). 

• Modified practices may begin for moderate risk sports. 

• There should be no shared athletic towels, clothing or shoes between students. 

• Students should wear their own appropriate workout clothing (do not share clothing), and individual clothing/towels should be washed and cleaned after every workout. 

• All athletic equipment, including balls, should be cleaned intermittently during practices and contests. 

• Hand sanitizer should be plentiful at all contests and practices. 

• Athletic equipment such as bats, batting helmets and catchers gear should be cleaned between each use. 

• Maximum lifts should be limited and power cages should be used for squats and bench presses. Spotters should stand at each end of the bar. 

Hydration: 

• All students shall bring their own water bottle. Water bottles must not be shared. 

• Hydration stations (water cows, water trough, water fountains, etc.) should not be utilized. 

Phase 3 

Pre- Workout/Contest Screening: 

• Any person who has had a fever or cold symptoms in the previous 24 hours should not be allowed to take part in workouts and should contact his or her primary care provider or other appropriate health- care professional. 

• A record should be kept of all individuals present. 

• Vulnerable individuals can resume public interactions, but should practice physical distancing, minimizing exposure to social settings where distancing may not be practical, unless precautionary measures are observed. 

Limitations on Gatherings: 

• Gathering sizes of up to 50 individuals, indoors or outdoors. 

• When not directly participating in practices or contests, care should be taken to maintain a minimum distance of 3 to 6 feet between each individual. Consider using tape or paint as a guide for students and coaches. 

Facilities Cleaning: 

• Adequate cleaning schedules should be created and implemented for all athletic facilities to mitigate any communicable diseases. 

• Prior to an individual or groups of individuals entering a facility, hard surfaces within that facility should be wiped down and sanitized (chairs, furniture in meeting rooms, locker rooms, weight room equipment, bathrooms, athletic training room tables, etc.). 

• Individuals should wash their hands for a minimum of 20 seconds with warm water and soap before touching any surfaces or participating in workouts. 

• Hand sanitizer should be plentiful and available to individuals as they transfer from place to place. 

• Weight equipment should be wiped down thoroughly before and after an individual’s use of equipment. 

• Appropriate clothing/shoes should be worn at all times in the weight room to minimize sweat from transmitting onto equipment/surfaces. 

• Any equipment such as weight benches, athletic pads, etc. having holes with exposed foam should be covered. 

• Students must be encouraged to shower and wash their workout clothing immediately upon returning to home. 

Physical Activity and Athletic Equipment: 

• Moderate risk sports practices and competitions may begin. 

• There should be no shared athletic towels, clothing or shoes between students. 

• Students should wear their own appropriate workout clothing (do not share clothing), and individual clothing/towels should be washed and cleaned after every workout. 

• Hand sanitizer should be plentiful at all contests and practices. 

• Athletic equipment such as bats, batting helmets and catchers gear should be cleaned between each use. Other equipment, such as hockey helmets/pads, wrestling ear guards, football helmets/other pads, lacrosse helmets/pads/gloves/eyewear should be worn by only one individual and not shared. 

• Maximum lifts should be limited and power cages should be used for squats and bench presses. Spotters should stand at each end of the bar. 

• Modified* practices may begin for higher risk sports: oContinue pre-practice screening as in Phases 1 and 2. Shower immediately after practices/contests. o Re-assess epidemiology data and experiences in other states and other levels of competition to determine when higher risk sports competition may resume. 

Hydration: 

• All students shall bring their own water bottle. Water bottles must not be shared. 

• Hydration stations (water cows, water trough, water fountains, etc.) may be utilized but must be cleaned after every practice/contest. 

E. Contests 

i. Potential Infection Risk by Sport (modified from United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee – Sports Medicine recommendations) 

Higher Risk: Sports that involve close, sustained contact between participants, lack of significant protective barriers, and high probability that respiratory particles will be transmitted between participants. Examples: Wrestling, football, boyslacrosse, competitive cheer, dance.

Moderate Risk: Sports that involve close, sustained contact, but with protective equipment in place that may reduce the likelihood of respiratory particle transmission between participants OR intermittent close contact OR group sports OR sports that use equipment that can’t be cleaned between participants. Examples: Basketball, volleyball*, baseball*, softball*, soccer, water polo, gymnastics* (if equipment can’t be sufficiently cleaned between competitors), ice hockey, field hockey, tennis*, swimming relays, pole vault*, high jump*, long jump*, girls lacrosse, crew with two or more rowers in shell, 7 on 7 football *Could potentially be considered “Lower Risk” with appropriate cleaning of equipment and use of masks by participants 

Lower Risk: Sports that can be done with social distancing or individually with no sharing of equipment or the ability to clean the equipment between use by competitors. Examples: Individual running events, throwing events (javelin, shot put, discus), individual swimming, golf, weightlifting, alpine skiing, sideline cheer, single sculling, cross country running (with staggered starts) 

ii. Transportation to events 

Schools must consider social distancing requirements when scheduling contests and events for the fall. Social distancing (as required by state or local health department) will need to be maintained on buses/vans. Thus, multiple buses/vans and/or parental/guardian transportation will likely be needed. 

iii. Social distancing during Contests/Events/Activities 

a. Sidelines/benches: Appropriate social distancing will need to be maintained on sidelines/bench during contests and events. Consider using tape or paint as a guide for students and coaches. 

b. Who should be allowed at events? Group people into tiersfrom essential to non-essential and decide which tiers will be allowed at an event: 

• Tier 1 (Essential): Athletes, coaches, officials, event staff, medical staff, security. • Tier 2 (Preferred): Media. • Tier 3 (Non-essential): Spectators, vendors. Only Tier 1 and 2 personnel will be allowed to attend events until state/local health departments lift restrictions on mass gatherings. 

F. Athletic Training Services 

Given the coming financial crisis at the state and local levels, the NFHS SMAC fears that athletic trainer positions will be seen asa “luxury” and those positions will be at risk during the budgeting process. It is also assumed that athletic trainers supplied to high schools by hospitals and sports medicine clinics are also at risk as many medical clinics and hospitals have suffered severe revenue loss during the pandemic. 

Athletic trainers in high schools are positioned to play a vital role as sports return following this pandemic. As health-care professionals, they can take lead roles in developing and implementing infection control policy throughout the school. Whenever needed, state associations and their SMACs should promote the importance of athletic trainers in high schools and their role in injury evaluation, treatment and risk minimization as well as being a vital component of any return-to-school and athletics plan. 

G. Return to Physical Activity 

Current pre-season conditioning and acclimatization models assume that athletes have deconditioned over the summer months. The current pandemic may result in students being deconditioned for four to five months. The NFHS is currently involved with a number of other organizations in developing consensus guidelines for fall sports practices. These guidelines will be sent to state associations immediately after they are finalized and approved by all involved organizations. 

H. Hygienic 

i. Illness reporting 

Create notification process for all event athletes, coaches, event staff, media, spectators and vendors if the organizers/medical personnel learn of suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 at the event. 

ii. Considerations for Officials, Coaches, Other Personnel 

1. Vulnerable individuals should not participate in any practices, conditioning activities, contests or events during Phases 1 and 2. 

2. Masks may be worn, social distancing enforced and “Hygiene Basics” adhered to in all situations. 

CONTINUE TO PRACTICE GOOD HYGIENE 

• Wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer, especially after touching frequently used items or surfaces. 

• Avoid touching your face. 

• Sneeze or cough into a tissue, or the inside of your elbow. 

• Disinfect frequently used items and surfaces as much as possible. 

• Strongly consider using face coverings while in public, and particularly when using mass transit. 

PEOPLE WHO FEEL SICK SHOULD STAY HOME 

• Do not go to work or school. 

• Contact and follow the advice of your medical provider. 

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS 

1. Wide availability of hand sanitizer at contests and practices. Participants, coaches and officials should clean hands frequently. 

2. Wiping down ball and equipment frequently. 

3. No pre-game and post-game handshakes/high-fives/fist bumps. 

4. Officials and sideline volunteers should be given option to wear face coverings (may use artificial noisemaker in place of whistle).

Fox trot leaves openings at Zion

By Maurice Patton

One departure leaves Zion Christian Academy with three athletic staff vacancies.

Tommy Fox, who has served as boys basketball coach, softball coach and athletics director at the school, has accepted similar roles at Wayne Christian School in Goldsboro, N.C. Fox will rejoin former Zion football coach, AD and interim head of school Paul Brenner at the K-12 institution.

“Obviously we’re close from when we were back at Zion. I had the opportunity to hire him there and work with him there,” said Brenner, school head at Wayne Christian. “I just think the world of him. He’s great with kids, he’s a super head coach, I love his family – his wife (Tara) is a great teacher as well. We’ve just stayed in contact with each other. Not only did we work together, but we’re good friends. We went to church together.”

Fox, hired as boys basketball and softball coach prior to the 2013-14 school year, took on AD duties in 2017 — succeeding Brenner in that role – along with the girls basketball coaching position. He relinquished the latter this past season with the hiring of Emory Ujano, who was recently dismissed as well.

“I really wasn’t looking at all,” said Fox, 44. “We got presented with a really good opportunity. Any time you’re presented with an opportunity, you’ve got to take a look at it and do what’s best for your family. I didn’t know it was the best thing for my family when I got the call, but after a tremendous amount of prayer and some wise counsel, it sounded like a great opportunity.”

Adam Thomas, upper school principal, said the plan for filling four staff positions is taking shape.

“We’re discussing how all that plays out right now,” he said. “Finding a person that can do as many different things as Tommy is not an easy find. He did a lot of things and he was good at a lot of things. As much as I’m happy for him, I’m sad for myself and all the folks that are going to miss him. He’s a tremendous person to have at Zion and a tremendous loss.

“We’d obviously love to have an AD that could coach; that’s something we’ll look at. But a lot will be determined by who are our opportunities, and then who best fits the mission of Zion.”

Fox said he will remain at Zion through the end of his contract, which expires July 31, before he, Tara and their seven children head east.

“Zion’s a very dear place to my heart,” he said. “My kids love Zion, I love Zion. I’ve dedicated a lot of time and a lot of hard work, and I’ve coached some great kids. I’ve definitely been blessed by being here.”

Little fanfare as Central takes pair from visiting Spring Hill

By Maurice Patton

COLUMBIA – Snapping one streak and extending another, Columbia Central took possession of the McDonald’s Shootout trophy Saturday night with a 52-41 girls basketball victory over visiting Maury County rival Spring Hill.

Behind a game-high 16 points from Josie Parks and 15 from Janiyha Riley, the Lady Lions (12-3) won their season-best sixth straight game while ending a two-game slide in their series against Spring Hill (9-4).

“I think they’ve gotten a lot better,” Central coach Joshua Bugg said regarding the Lady Raiders, who had themselves won five in a row prior to Saturday night. “They’ve won some good games, been competitive. They’re undefeated in their district (11-AAA).

“They’re tough to handle. We made them play our style of basketball. They’re one of the bigger teams in the state. We were able to get one of their bigger kids off the floor. We were able to set the pace. That’s something we try to do no matter who we’re playing.”

Central’s up-tempo style helped negate the size advantage Spring Hill typically has with Cole Alderson and the Stedman sisters, Prairie and Sierra. With Alderson picking up her second foul and Sierra Stedman her third midway through the second quarter, the hosts – who seized an early lead behind five first-period 3-pointers – had room to work and ran off six straight points to close the half with a 24-21 lead.

Out of the locker room, the Lady Lions continued with 12 unanswered points and maintained a double-digit cushion the rest of the night.

“Our motto is ‘know what to do, play fast and aggressive’,” Bugg said. “Once we’re able to score, our aggression comes out on the defensive end. We’re able to get into different defenses, pressure defenses.”

Prairie Stedman finished with a team-high 12 points for Spring Hill. Sierra, who went over the 1,000-point mark for her career in Friday’s 58-50 win over Franklin, ended with six points and Alderson with nine.

Since the series between the two programs resumed in 2000, Central now holds a 15-6 lead, although Spring Hill has won four of the last six meetings.

‘Sloppy’ win for Lions: Q Martin scored five of Central’s seven points to end the first quarter, and added a coast-to-coast dunk through traffic in the final five minutes, as the Lions won their eighth straight contest in the Spring Hill series – a 58-33 decision.

Martin’s early spurt helped the hosts to a 13-7 lead, and the margin grew to 34-14 by halftime.

“They’re quick, they’re athletic, they’ve got guys that can shoot the ball. They did a good job,” Raiders coach Jimmy Young said.

“We struggle to score. We had trouble keeping them in front of us, and when we went zone, we had trouble rebounding out of that. They got where they wanted to go.”

Spring Hill played without senior post Jaylen Rucker, who scored 16 points in Tuesday’s District 11-AAA loss at Independence, because of contact tracing. Kai’Seanne Brashear finished with 15 points in Saturday’s defeat – nearly half the team’s total output.

Omari Franklin finished with 14 points for Central, with Martin adding nine as 10 different Lions scored in the victory.

“We could have played better early, but for back-to-back rivalry games, I thought we played well,” Central coach Nick Campbell said, referring to Friday’s 81-63 win over Lawrence County in District 8-AAA play.

“It was a little sloppy, but that’s part of it sometimes. We challenged them to clean some things up rebounding. They’ve done that. With Carter (Szydlowski) back, that frees some guys up to do some other things.”

Central leads the series 17-5.

In light of the pandemic-related attendance restrictions, the scholarship shooting contest that typically takes place at halftime of the boys’ game was not held Saturday.

“Hopefully (it resumes) next year, when all this is over,” Columbia Central athletics director Ray Wilson said.

Next up: Columbia Central’s girls play a District 8-AAA makeup contest Monday against visiting Lincoln County at 5 p.m., followed by league trips Tuesday to Shelbyville and Friday to Coffee County. Spring Hill returns to 11-AAA play Tuesday at Dickson County, then faces back-to-back league meetings with Summit — at home Wednesday, at Summit Friday.

Columbia Central girls 52, Spring Hill 41

S 12 9 3 17 – 41
C 17 7 17 11 – 52

Spring Hill (41) – Cole Alderson 9, Prairie Stedman 12, Belle Brashear 3, Alli Davis 2, Sierra Stedman 6, Jeyce Brashear 5, Keyivary Scales 4
Columbia Central (52) – Saviya Morgan 9, Ryleigh Hamm 7, Janiyha Riley 15, Jenice Bailey 2, Emma Hughes 3, Josie Parks 16
3-pointers – Spring Hill 1 (J. Brashear), Columbia Central 7 (Morgan 2, Hamm 2, Riley, Hughes, Parks)

Columbia Central boys 58, Spring Hill 33

S 7 7 10 9 – 33
C 13 21 15 9 – 58

Spring Hill (33) – Landen Secrest 4, Brytten Georges 9, Quintaveous Simmons 5, Kai’Seanne Brashear 15
Columbia Central (58) – Cam Johnson 7, Carter Szydlowski 3, Demetrius McCoy 5, Q Martin 9, Omari Franklin 14, Bubba Perkins 8, Roni Bailey 1, Quandrees Peete 2, Hadyn Simmons 2, Jordan Davis 7
3-pointers – Spring Hill 5 (Georges 3, Brashear 2), Columbia Central 4 (Johnson 2, Franklin 2)

Photos by Ric Beu / SM-Tn Sports

Weekend on the hardwood

Friday

Spring Hill girls 58, Franklin 50

S 21 18 4 15 58
F 10 13 18 9 50

Spring Hill (58) – Kat Carter 6, Cole Alderson 4, Prairie Stedman 12, Belle Brashear 7, Sierra Stedman 24, Jayce Brashear 5
Franklin (50) – Jean Costello 3, Brenna Swiger 6, Layla Gardner 8, Kate O’Neil 28, Regina Hammond 5
3-pointers – Spring Hill 6 (S. Stedman 3, P. Stedman, B. Brashear, J. Brashear), Franklin 6 (O’Neil 3, Costello, Gardner, Hammond)

Franklin boys 69, Spring Hill 37

S 4 11 7 15 — 37
F 28 10 10 21 — 69

Spring Hill (37) — Jayden Davis 4, Brytten Georges 6, Quintaveous Simmons 10, Kai’Seanne Brashear 15, Blake Smith 2
Franklin (69) — Taylor Spierto 2, Tom Fortner 11, Nick Magee 2, Reed Kemp 14, Aiden Smylie 13, Connor Beavon 5, Myers Tschintz 2, Davis Long 10, Matt Thurman 4, Mason Jones 6
3-pointers — Spring Hill 4 (Georges 2, Simmons 2), Franklin 8 (Fortner 2, Kemp 2, Smylie, Beavon, Long 2)

Saturday

Hampshire girls 43, Wayne Co. 40

W 10 17 4 9 40
H 10 17 2 14 43

Wayne Co. (40) – Savanna McClain 11, Charli Woodside 3, Jac Keaton 4, Lauren Bryant 11, Michaela Gallian 11
Hampshire (43) – Katie Shelton 3, Hailey Potts 5, Kortney Rowland 9, Ansley Stoner 2, Kayla Stephens 6, Kadence Stoner 3, Madison Cagle 2, Karlee Rowland 13
3-pointers – Wayne Co. 3 (McClain, Woodside, Bryant), Hampshire 4 (Stephens 2, Potts, Shelton)

Westmoreland girls 40, Summit 33

S 11 4 12 6 33
W 14 9 10 7 40

Summit (33) – Delaney Noe 17, Cydney Wright 4, Ellie Colson 7, Nicole Rizane 5
Westmoreland (40) – Mallory Cassety 5, Jordan Bandy 4, Reagan Hodge 6, Bayleigh Norman 4, Emma Write 4, Alana Eakle 17
3-pointers – Summit 4 (Noe 3, Rizane), Westmoreland 4 (Cassety, Hodge, Eakle 2)

Summertown boys 66, Mt. Pleasant 47

S 16 20 16 14 — 66
M 13 9 18 7 — 47

Summertown (66) — Skyler Trousdale 10, Grayson Burleson 14, Gavin Burleson 18, Grant Burleson 4, Kaden Trotter 4, Jake Smith 12, Zane Akins 4
Mt. Pleasant (47) — Keevan Cooper 3, Kentra Frierson 14, Tip Marlow 9, Chris Andrews 9, Chandler Hughes 8, Hardin Hughes 2, Kyler Baker 2
3-pointers — Summertown 11 (Trousdale, Gy. Burleson 2, Gv. Burleson 4, Gt. Burleson, Trotter, Smith 2), Mt. Pleasant 2 (Frierson 2)

Columbia Central softball experiences coaching change

By Maurice Patton

‘Philosophical differences’, vague as it sounds, may be the best way to describe the situation that resulted in Shelby Burchell Tietgens’ recent resignation as softball coach at Columbia Central.

“There were some differences in opinions between Shelby and the administration, and it was decided between the two that it was best that they part ways,” said Hannah Thomason Cole, whose installation as interim coach was announced Friday night.

Named to succeed current Central athletics director Kevin Creech following the 2019 season, Tietgens’ tenure ended Thursday – a month before preseason practice officially begins, and after, officially, just three games in a pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign.

“It was disappointing to not have a season last year. That was out of everybody’s control,” she said. “It was not ideal for anybody.”

Her impact on the program far exceeded that 0-3 record, though.

Shelby Burchell Tietgens (right) resigned as softball coach at Columbia Central this week. Burchell Tietgens took over the program in June 2019, coaching through a COVID-shortened 2020 season that limited the Lady Lions to just three games. (Courtesy photo by Rob Fleming)

A five-year starter and a four-year all-state selection at Columbia Academy – where she and Thomason Cole were teammates, and where she is an Athletic Hall of Fame honoree – Burchell Tietgens went on to play in two Women’s College World Series over four seasons at the University of Tennessee. After ending her playing career in 2012, she returned to the area and worked as a personal instructor and coached travel ball prior to taking over the Lady Lions’ helm.

“I don’t feel like there’s a lot to comment on because I don’t want there to be anything crazy,” she said. “I just feel like this was the best for everybody, everyone involved. I do know the program is in capable hands with Hannah. I think she’ll do great.

“I just think it would probably be best if I just kept my mouth shut. I don’t have to be involved with it any more. It won’t affect me, the things that I say, but it will affect others. That’s what I’m trying to steer clear of, is not making it any harder on anybody else.”

Central principal Roger White was reluctant to discuss the issue as well.

“I’m disappointed that that’s what Shelby has decided to do,” he said. “We wish her well in whatever she does in the future.”

Despite the change, and its timing, Cole expects the foundation laid by Tietgens over the past 18 months to pay dividends this spring.

“I’m excited to take on the challenge,” she said. “I know that there will probably be some difficulties moving forward. I’ve only been an assistant coach; I’ve never been in the head coaching role, but I have a great support system. I think with the team we have, we will do well this year.

“Since I’ve been with Coach Tietgens, starting in the summer tryouts and the fall, being present with her, we have a lot of the same values and outlook on team sports and softball. We’re going to continue to keep those moving forward. The girls of course are upset about the loss of Coach Tietgens, as we all are. They’re also ready and excited to move forward with us.”

In her absence, Tietgens hopes for the best for her now former players.

“I do want the program to be successful,” she said. “I love those girls. They’re going to do well.”

Maurice Patton is the editor for SM-Tn Sports. He can be reached at mopattonsports@gmail.com or @mopatton_sports on Twitter.

Lady Lions stop 6-year skid against Lawrence County

By Chris Yow

COLUMBIA — Not a single player on Columbia Central’s basketball team was even in middle school the last time the Lady Lions were winners over Lawrence County.

A 13-game losing streak that followed a 67-48 victory on Jan. 28, 2014, ended on Friday with a 58-46 Central win.

Improving their overall record to 13-3 overall and 2-1 in District 8-AAA play coming out of a two-week quarantine from COVID-19 was a positive sign for the Lady Lions and coach Joshua Bugg.

“Humility is the key,” Bugg said. “We know we can play with anybody in this district, but we have to humble ourselves and bring our best game every night.”

Josie Parks certainly brought her best game, pouring in a game-high 25 points.

“She’s consistent, and we rely on that from her to keep our momentum as a team,” Bugg said. “She’s like a runner who starts at 5 a.m. and ends at 6 (a.m.). What happens in that hour may not be exciting, but it’s the consistency that makes her so valuable.”

Parks score 10 points in the first quarter, then five, six and four to round out the game.

With the game tied at both halftime and at the end of a sloppy third quarter, Bugg challenged his team to take control of the game, and it did. Trailing 41-40 following a Katie Criswell bucket for the Lady Wildcats, Ryleigh Hamm knocked down a 3-pointer with 5:47 to go in the game and Columbia Central never trailed again.

A big reason for the Lady Lions’ success in the fourth quarter was their deadly accuracy from the charity stripe. For the game, the hosts were 18-of-22, including 11-of-13 in the final frame. Janiyha Riley was a perfect 6-for-6 in the game, five of which came in the fourth, as she dropped 20 points in the win.

“We stepped up in the fourth quarter and did what we needed to do to win the game,” Bugg said. “I feel like this team is learning how to win these type games now, and that’s something we are excited about moving forward.”

Columbia Central will return to district play next week after their annual matchup with Spring Hill at home on Saturday. The Lions host Lincoln County in a makeup game on Monday before traveling to Shelbyville on Tuesday and to Coffee County next Friday.

Lions control game from start to finish

Bubba Perkins knocked down his first shot of the game from behind the arc atop the key, and Columbia Central never looked back, cruising to an 81-63 win over Lawrence County on Friday.

Perkins knocked down five 3-pointers in the game, en route to a game-high 22 points for the Lions. Q Martin added 16 points for the hosts.

Columbia Central (11-6, 3-2 8-AAA) jumped out to an 11-2 lead before the Wildcats found their footing. Lawrence County (6-6, 2-3 8-AAA) made a quick run just before quarter’s end to cut the deficit to 18-12 before the horn, but the Lions pulled away quickly in the second.

A 23-point second quarter, with six different scorers, and a stifling defense had the game well in-hand by halftime. Both teams played several young players late in the game, and Central got a late bucket from Jacoby Webster to seal the deal.

Columbia Central girls 58, Lawrence Co. 46

L 13 14 8 11 46
C 16 11 8 23 58

Lawrence County (46) – Carson Gobble 2, Ella Hillnose 3, Katie Criswell 16, Madison Tidwell 15, Chloe Willis 11
Columbia Central (58) – Saviya Morgan 4, Ryleigh Hamm 5, Janiyha Riley 20, Jenice Bailey 4, Josie Parks 25
3-pointers – Lawrence County 4 (Tidwell 3, Hillnose), Columbia Central 6 (Parks 3, Riley 2, Hamm)

Columbia Central boys 81, Lawrence Co. 63

L 12 13 21 17 63
C 18 23 21 18 81

Lawrence Co. (63) – Alex Carr 6, Kade Shultz 2, Elijah Reynolds 9, Ty Cobb 4, Luke Boswell 15, Luke Mattox 12, Charlie Brewer 5, Jakabri Stevenson 6, Kane Crews 2, Blake Long 2
Columbia Central (81) – Cam Johnson 7, Carter Szydlowski 4, Demetrius McCoy 7, Q Martin 16, Omari Franklin 5, Bubba Perkins 22, Roni Bailey 8, Jacoby Webster 2, Jordan Davis 9
3-pointers – Lawrence Co. 10 (Mattox 4, Stevenson 2, Reynolds 2, Brewer, Carr) Columbia Central 8 (Perkins 5, Franklin, Martin, Johnson)

Photos by Chris Yow / SM-Tn Sports

Culleoka claims road sweep as District 10-A play continues

By Maurice Patton

MT. PLEASANT – Chris Carney didn’t want to connect his team’s offensive woes to roster shortcomings – but the numbers just didn’t add up for his team Friday night.

Landon Andrews finished with a game-high 17 points, leading three double-digit scorers for Culleoka in a 56-44 District 10-A victory over host Mt. Pleasant.

“Kentra (Frierson) and Tip (Marlow) are both good players. We knew coming in they’d be the deciding players,” Culleoka coach Mike Lovett said after the win. “They lost a lot from last year; they’ve got a lot of young guys around them.

“Our main focus was stopping Kentra and Tip. They had 26 points combined, but that number could have been way bigger.”

The Tigers were without a third consistent scorer as sophomore Demarkus Brown – who scored a team-high 17 points in Mt. Pleasant’s district opener against Santa Fe – is currently in quarantine, as is sophomore post Gavin Alderson.

Absent that pair, production was spotty aside from Marlow (15 points) and Frierson.

“Everybody’s dealing with it,” Carney said regarding the pandemic effect on personnel. “(Instead) we put in some guys that could help us rebounding and defending the size of Culleoka. We weren’t as fluid offensively. That’s something we’ll try to shore up before the next game.”

The Warriors had few issues scoring. Andrews connected twice from beyond the 3-point arc in the opening quarter and Cooper Parks added a pair of short-range baskets for a 10-8 lead. A Parks 3-point play just before halftime extended the Culleoka cushion to 23-18, and back-to-back treys from Andrews and Erik Mick to start the third period made it an eight-point game.

After trailing by as many as 11, Mt. Pleasant (6-6, 1-2 10-A) trimmed the deficit to 36-32 with 6:51 remaining as Marlow hit a pair of free throws and a baseline jumper. The Tigers stalled there, though, and Culleoka (7-6, 2-1) answered with an 8-2 spurt to keep the hosts at bay.

“This was the first game we’ve played as a team,” Lovett said. “We didn’t care about but one thing – winning. That was the biggest factor.”

Parks finished with 16 points and Tavon Bagsby 13 for the Warriors.

The win completed a doubleheader sweep for the visitors, as Breanna Dickson scored 12 points to lead Culleoka’s girls to a 41-25 victory. Addison Workman finished with 12 points for Mt. Pleasant.

Next up: Mt. Pleasant travels Saturday to Summertown for a boys-only matchup, then resumes league play Tuesday against visiting Richland. Culleoka’s girls are set to host Santa Fe on Tuesday and Hampshire on Friday in 10-A action, but the boys will be idle as both visiting squads are sidelined for pandemic-related reasons.

Culleoka boys 56, Mt. Pleasant 44

C 10 13 13 20 – 56
M 8 10 10 16 – 44

Culleoka (56) – Tavon Bagsby 13, Landon Andrews 17, Erik Mick 9, Cooper Parks 16, Hunter Harris 1
Mt. Pleasant (44) – Keevan Cooper 2, Kentra Frierson 11, Tip Marlow 15, Hayden Holt 5, Chandler Hughes 5, Bennett Hughes 6
3-pointers – Culleoka 4 (Andrews 3, Mick), Mt. Pleasant 4 (Frierson, Holt, B. Hughes 2)

Culleoka girls 41, Mt. Pleasant 25

C 12 14 6 9 – 41
M 4 11 7 3 – 25

Culleoka (41) – Madison Ingram 2, Breanna Dickson 12, Tyler Reischman 5, Alex Skinner 5, Maci McKennon 6, Hannah Collins 9, Kylie Thomas 2
Mt. Pleasant (25) – Baleigh Gray 6, Emily Crossman 3, Kenzie Gray 4, Addison Workman 12
3-pointers – Culleoka 3 (Reischman, Skinner, Collins), Mt. Pleasant 1 (Crossman)

Photos by Ric Beu / SM-Tn Sports

Friday on the hardwood

Richland girls 66, Hampshire 47

H 12 9 18 8 47
R 19 19 12 16 66

Hampshire (47) – Kortney Rowland 9, Ansley Stoner 9, Kayla Stephens 5, Karlee Rowland 14, Katie Shelton 4, Madison Cagle 6
Richland (66) – Gracie Braden 5, Katie Garner 2, Jesse Jennings 32, Kristen Garner 8, Allie Garner 8, Shelby Higgins 11
3-pointers – Hampshire 5 (Cagle 2, Ko. Rowland, Stoner, Stephens), Richland 4 (Higgins 2, Kr. Garner, Jennings)

Summit girls 66, Dickson Co. 44

S 17 21 19 9 66
D 9 10 13 11 44

Summit (66) – Myah Kratzig 3, Delaney Noe 18, Bergen Allee 5, Claudette Runk 10, Cydney Wright 5, Ellie Colson 8, Jaidyn Ramzy 9, Nicole Rizane 8
Dickson Co. (44) – Anna Leatherwood 6, Ashley Jackson 11, Rylee Moore 2, Jada Davidson 2, AC Milam 20, Hanna Ingram 2
3-pointers – Summit 8 ( Kratzig, Noe 4, Allee, Runk 2), Dickson Co. 6 (Leatherwood 2, Jackson, Milam 3)

Summertown girls 90, Frank Hughes 23

S 33 23 21 13 – 90
F 6 0 9 8 – 23

Summertown (90) – Rylee Long 14, Ansley Burleson 13, Karlie Campbell 12, Reese Wilson 10, Hailey Jones 10, Kaley Campbell 10, Katie Burdette 8, Emily Brazier 8, McKenzie Runnels 3, Jenna Brazier 2
Frank Hughes (23) – Zayden Surratt 8, Brylie Johnson 7, McKenna Boucher 5, Isabella Beckham 3
3-pointers — Summertown 8 (Long 2, Burleson 3, Kr. Campbell 2, Kl. Campbell), Frank Hughes 2 (Boucher, Beckham)

Columbia Acad. boys 64, Zion Chr. 51

Z 15 9 11 16 — 51
C 21 15 14 14 — 64

Zion Chr. (51) — Max Brown 2, Jackson Hughes 13, Hayden Headley 10, Wesley Riggins 16, Ethan Yates 10
Columbia Acad. (64) — Tanner Ham 22, Chase Duncan 5, Hayden Morgan 10, Drew Butt 6, Ryan Bernath 3, Gabe Davenport 5, Griffin Cooper 13,
3-pointers — Zion Chr. 5 (Hughes 3, Headley 2), Columbia Acad. 9 (Ham 4, Duncan, Morgan 2, Bernath, Davenport)

Southern Middle Tennessee Sports