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.”

Sister Act: Lady Eagles win prestigious tourney title

SM-Tn Sports

Lanie and Karlie Campbell led Summertown to an impressive tournament victory Tuesday, as the Lady Eagles finished 12 strokes ahead of Providence Christian in the two-day TGA High School Invitational at Three Rivers Golf Club in Knoxville.

Lanie took top individual honors, turning a one-stroke first-round deficit to her sister into a one-stroke tourney win. A Middle Tennessee State commit, Lanie shot a 75-74—149 to edge Karlie’s 74-76—150.

Lanie Campbell shot a second-day 74 to edge sister Karlie by one stroke and win the TGA High School Invitational at Knoxville’s Three Rivers Golf Club. (Courtesy photo)

With a team score of 299, Summertown – the three-time defending Class A state titlist – bested Providence Christian’s 311. Farragut (320) finished third, followed by Christian Academy of Knoxville (333), Baylor (348), Franklin Road Academy (357) and Knoxville Catholic (393).

Youngster leads CA boys: Columbia Academy eighth-grader Jay Coleman tied for low individual honors in Tuesday’s four-team match at Stoneybrook. Coleman shot a 41, tying Lawrence County senior Avery Tidwell in the nine-hole competition. The Wildcats shot a 170 team total, finishing ahead of CA, Hickman County and Fairview.

In girls play, Hickman County defeated Lawrence County and Columbia Academy.

Boys

Lawrence Co. (170) – A. Tidwell 41, L. Mattox 42, C. Brewer 43, S. Thigpen 44, T. Gobble 44
Columbia Acad. (181) – J. Coleman 41, D. Butt 46, M. Nixon 46, S. Hulen 48, H. Greene 50
Hickman Co. – W. Elkins 41, S. Rochelle 43, J. Jacobs 48, C. Martin 49, J. Tidwell 52
Fairview (237) – J. Carter 48, S. Frank 59, O. Hulan 62, B. Barker 68

Girls

Hickman Co. (90) – A. Dorton 44, M. Kelley 46, Puckett 47
Lawrence Co. (105) – T. Jagod 51, L. Hurst 54, A. Campbell 54
Columbia Acad. (112) – J. Montgomery 52, A. Codling 60

Coaches are encouraged to submit their match results to sports@sm-tnsports.com.

Post 19 sets sights on region tourney title

By Maurice Patton

Scott Beasley considers his team “battle-tested”, but the troops are a bit thin as the Post 19 Seniors head into the American Legion Southeast Regional Tournament that starts Wednesday at Bobby Hayes Stadium in Pelham, Ala.

When the Columbia squad takes the field for the 10 a.m. opener – “Somehow we’ve had the opener the last four years; but it’s a blind draw, supposedly,” Beasley observed – of the eight-team double-elimination tourney against Tallahassee (Fla.) Post 13, they’ll be short three players that were in uniform for the three-game sweep of Pulaski Post 60 in last month’s best-of-5 state tournament series.

Spring Hill graduates Dawson Hargrove and Brandon O’Brien, incoming freshmen at Southwest Tennessee Community College and UT-Southern, respectively, opted out of the trip along with late roster addition Jacob Culberson.

“Obviously the first name hurts a little,” Beasley said regarding Hargrove, a two-way player who emerged as the leading hitter for Post 19 (.403) and tied for the team lead with four home runs while going 3-1 with a 3.36 earned run average this summer. “But at this point, it is what it is. We’ve got 13 that really want to be there.

“At the end of the day, you want guys that want to be there and you go from there.”

The Columbians head into regional tourney play with an 18-7 record, riding a six-game winning streak and having won eight of their last nine contests – a performance that encourages Beasley as the team heads south.

“From what I can find, (Tallahassee) is a team similar to ours,” he said. “From what I can tell, it looks like they’ve got a couple of college arms, ‘gonna-be’ college arms, and a pretty solid lineup.

“Obviously Tupelo (Miss., Post 49) has had a great year. They’re sitting on two losses and we beat them twice. We’re the only team that’s beaten them all season. Florence (S.C., Post 1) I believe is 31-3. Retif Oil (Post 285) out of New Orleans is a really solid program; they’ve already got two or three big-time Division I commits. They’re going to be a tough out as well.”

Rounding out the eight-team field – which includes seven state champions — is Troy (Ala.) Post 70, Covington (Ga.) Post 32 and the host Shelby County Post 555.

“That’s why we travel where we do throughout the summer: You’ve seen some of these teams,” Beasley said. “When you see them in the regional, you’re not scared by them. You’ve seen them before, you kinda know what to expect.

“I guess you could say we’re battle-tested. Does that translate into wins at the end of the season? We’ll see.”

After previously playing in the Mid-South Regional, this is Post 19’s second appearance at the Southeast Regional since returning to that region in 2019; last year’s tournament was not played as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We kinda get put wherever they throw us,” Beasley said. “Right now, our regional, the way it’s currently set up is brutal. You’ve probably got six of the top 10 states as far as teams coming out (to the American Legion World Series in Shelby, N.C.). I’m not saying there’s not some good teams in other places, but the fourth- or fifth-place team in our regional honestly could go win some other regionals.

“At the same time, it’s where you are, so you’ve got to go out and win it.”

Hickman County graduate and Freed-Hardeman left-hander Shelton Blackwell, who led Post 19 in wins (four), innings pitched (31.1) and ERA (2.23) will get the ball in Wednesday’s opener. He’ll be followed Thursday by Summertown grad Cory Francis, with Columbia Central rising senior Hudson Adams slated to start Friday.

“That’s the plan – but you get into tournament play and who knows who you’ve got to use in relief,” Beasley said.

Grant Burleson, the 2021 Tennessee Baseball Coaches Association’s selection as Class A Mr. Baseball out of Summertown, has not thrown since July 3 because of concerns over some arm soreness. Beasley anticipates the Columbia State signee being available out of the bullpen this week.

“He’s fine. For now, he’s fine,” the coach said. “He was about to come in at the end of the second game at the state tournament. We think he’s healthy to where we could use him as a closer. You’re not going to get ‘starter’ innings out of him, but if it’s one, maybe two innings, you’ve got him in your back pocket to try to close a game.”

Offensively – where Hargrove’s absence may show up more – state tourney most valuable player Brantly Whitwell (.352, 10 extra-base hits, 32 runs) and Brett Bell (.369, 25 runs, eight steals), both Spring Hill products, will look to solidify the batting order along with Burleson (.344, four homers, 26 RBI).

“I do think hitting depth has been our strength all year,” Beasley said, as the starting lineup stands to have five .300 hitters.

Post 19 will match up Thursday against either Retif Oil or Troy Post 70 – either in a winners bracket contest at 4 p.m. or in an elimination game at 10 a.m. Double-elimination play continues Friday and Saturday, with the tournament championship game set for 2 p.m. Sunday.

Games will be available via webstreaming.

“Small but mighty” may turn out to be the team’s battle cry for the week.

“When you’re taking 13 with three ‘POs’ (pitchers-only), it makes making the lineup really easy,” Beasley said. “But, get an injury and you’re up against the wall.

“Sometimes, everybody getting to play their part kinda energizes the team.”

Wednesday

10 a.m. – Tallahassee (Fla.) Post 13 vs. Columbia Post 19
1 p.m. – Florence (S.C.) Post 1 vs. Tupelo (Miss.) Post 49
4 p.m. – Retif Oil (New Orleans Post 285) vs. Troy (Ala.) Post 70
7:30 p.m. – Covington (Ga.) Post 32 vs. Shelby Co. (Ala.) Post 555

Thursday

10 a.m. – Game 1 loser vs. Game 3 loser, elimination game
1 p.m. – Game 2 loser vs. Game 4 loser, elimination game
4 p.m. – Game 1 winner vs. Game 3 winner
7 p.m. – Game 2 winner vs. Game 4 winner

Coaches happy with scrimmage results from Friday

By Chris Yow

Spring Hill football coach Ben Martin won’t take this for granted anymore.

After his team’s Friday night scrimmage at Lebanon, Martin said it was a blessing to be back on the field and getting work in without the team’s win-loss record on the line.

That was a popular sentiment around the area over the weekend, as high school teams got a chance to hit somebody new and in a different colored jersey.

Last season, scrimmages were not allowed due to the threat of COVID-19, but with the latest guidelines from health officials and the TSSAA, local teams took full advantage of the opportunity.

Columbia Central, with John Moore still getting his feet under him, traveled to Lawrence County. The interim coach said he was pleased with what he saw.

“We got off to a slow start, but Q Martin picked off a pass and returned it for a touchdown, and that really revved us up,” he said. “We started executing a little better on offense after that, and I thought we did OK.”

“Our pad level is way too high, but that’s normal for this time of the year and our timing is off, so we have to work on that.”

Pad levels and techniques are part of the biggest corrections needed after these early scrimmages, according to coaches.

“We were terrible on technique and still managed to stay in the scrimmage. It’s the little things we harp on all the time,” Martin said. “We got some good work in, but I’m not sure how many questions got answered.”

Martin said getting a chance to control the scrimmage and correct mistakes as they happen during the scrimmage may not be ideal for fans who are clamoring for game action, but it’s vital to getting ready for Aug. 20.

“We were able to get out and correct things, and we got to see some stuff we wanted to see and look at,” he said. “It’s maybe not as exciting for fans with controlled scrimmages, but we get really good work being able to do it this way.

“We made mistakes, but nothing I wouldn’t expect to happen in the first scrimmage of the year.”

Mt. Pleasant coach Kit Hartsfield said his team bogged down in the red zone during their scrimmage at Cornersville and his team failed to score in the game. That, however, didn’t stall his optimism.

“It went OK,” he said. “I’m certainly not worried. We went up against good competition in Cornersville. It shows you where you’re at and where you need to be.”

Like Martin and Spring Hill, Hartsfield said his team didn’t play well, but still remained competitive.

“That’s what we are preaching to the kids is our ceiling is really high,” he said. “We looked fast on defense — had a lot of guys flying around making some big hits.”

Richland coach Nick Patterson was pleased, and for good reason. His team scored five touchdowns and held visiting Huntland to just two. The offensive production, considering the shake-up in the backfield this offseason, was a point of excitement.

“Overall, it was one of our better outings in my tenure here in execution and performance,” he said. “It was a good scrimmage for us, but there is obviously plenty to work on.”

The quarterback for the last two seasons, Sam Edwards has moved to running back in favor of Bryce Miller. That move has allowed Patterson to be more flexible with his senior athlete.

“Sam moved to running back and he’s thriving. It also allows us to use him more on defense, and he’s doing a great job for us there,” Patterson said. “I thought Bryce did a great job at quarterback. He handled himself really well.”

Patterson was also impressed with his team’s depth at this point of the season. A large freshman class has helped to bolster some key positions.

“Overall, I think we have more depth than we’ve ever had. There are a few places I’d like to have more, but team-wide our numbers are good,” he said. “I feel like we are building much-needed depth in a lot of spots.

“It’s good to be back.”

This week’s scrimmage schedule:

Tuesday

Collinwood at Mt. Pleasant
Summertown at Perry Co.
Columbia Acad. at Spring Hill
Richland at Giles Co.

Thursday

Hardin Co. at Lawrence Co.

Friday

South Gibson at Columbia Acad.
Loretto at Scotts Hill
Stewarts Creek at Summit
Hillsboro at Independence
Richland at Moore Co.
Spring Hill, Summertown at East Hickman

Culleoka lands local product to lead girls

By Maurice Patton

Catherine Upshaw is going home to begin her coaching career.

The Zion Christian and Maryville College graduate, who attended Culleoka Unit School through her eighth-grade year, is set to succeed Derrick Adkison at the top of the Lady Warriors’ varsity basketball program.

“I’m very excited about it,” said the 24-year-old said this weekend, who joined the faculty at Riverside Elementary following the Christmas break. “I just started my teaching career, and I had been looking for a coaching job in general. It didn’t matter if it was elementary, middle or high school. When the Culleoka position came around, I was like, I think I’d really enjoy that.

“Now that I have the position, I’m thrilled and I cannot wait to start.”

Catherine Upshaw, pictured during her Maryville College playing career, was announced this weekend as the successor to Culleoka girls basketball coach Derrick Adkison. (Courtesy photo)

Adkison stepped down in March after his ninth season with Culleoka, leading the team to its fourth straight Region 5-A tournament berth and its sixth appearance during his tenure. His son, Macon, will be a freshman at Santa Fe this year, where he plays basketball and baseball.

Culleoka athletics director Doug Sharp – who coached Upshaw in middle school – recently contacted his former student after a previous prospect to replace Adkison removed his name from consideration.

“She’s always expressed an interest in wanting to coach,” he said. “I saw her last week after she’d been working at Riverside all summer and asked her if she was still interested. Her already being in the (Maury County Public Schools) system as a teacher made the situation work a little faster.

“We needed to get something done.”

Following her 2019 graduation at Maryville College, Upshaw completed her masters degree requirements at Tusculum College in December. After teaching fourth grade at Riverside for the second half of the school year, she will teach kindergarten this year.

Tricia Reischman, who served as an assistant under Adkison, will continue in that role with Upshaw while coaching the middle school team.

“(Reischman) wasn’t interested in moving up, but she does have a couple of girls on this year’s team and agreed to mentor Catherine, sort of like I’ve been doing with (boys basketball coach) Mike Lovett,” Sharp said.

“What I really like about Catherine is her demeanor. I think she’ll be a good coach in the future because she doesn’t get too high, she doesn’t get too low. She just keeps that happy medium.”

With her playing career still fresh, Upshaw expects that to be in her favor as she embarks on her coaching career.

“I’ve been playing all my life. I know that aspect of the game,” she said. “Being 24 years old, I can get out there and show them what I want, not just by verbally saying it. I can coach them, I can play with them. I think that’s pretty important.”

Maryville, an NCAA Division III program, posted winning seasons in three of Upshaw’s four years – including a 26-4 campaign her freshman year and a berth in the national tournament.

“We were very successful, and the coaching there was phenomenal,” she said. “We had great coaches that knew how to talk to players, how to communicate.

“Playing with people you love and care for is pretty important. That’s a huge factor I will help these girls develop with one another.”

Upcoming local prep scrimmages, jamborees

Tuesday

Collinwood at Mt. Pleasant
Summertown at Perry Co.
Columbia Acad. at Spring Hill
Richland at Giles Co.

Thursday

Hardin Co. at Lawrence Co.

Friday

South Gibson at Columbia Acad.
Loretto at Scotts Hill
Stewarts Creek at Summit
Hillsboro at Independence
Richland at Moore Co.
Spring Hill, Summertown at East Hickman

Tuesday, Aug. 10

Mt. Pleasant at Waverly
Tullahoma at Columbia Central

Friday, Aug. 13
Maury County Jamboree
at Lindsey Nelson Stadium

Goodpasture vs. Columbia Acad., 6 p.m.
Dickson Co. vs. Spring Hill, 7 p.m.
Creek Wood vs. Columbia Central, 8 p.m.

Giles County Jamboree
at Sam Davis Park

Fayetteville vs. Richland, 7 p.m.
Lawrence Co. vs. Giles Co., 8 p.m.

Summertown at Rogers (Ala.)
Zion Chr. at Loretto

Coaches whose programs’ scrimmages or jamboree appearances are not listed are encouraged to e-mail sports@sm-tnsports.com with that information.

Fortenberry to fortify Spring Hill girls hoops

By Maurice Patton

Hurricane Katrina took place nearly 16 years ago, but the catastrophic event that wreaked havoc on the Gulf Coast in August 2005 has recently helped settle the Spring Hill coaching staff.

Wayne Fortenberry, who won three Mississippi high school basketball state championships over a career that spanned more than 30 years, has been named to replace Matt Horton atop the Lady Raider program.

“He’s got quite a pedigree,” Spring Hill athletics director John Farmer said. “His résumé is really impressive when you look at it. He taught and coached, but he was also a school administrator down in Mississippi for many, many years. He coached both boys and girls, but the majority of his career has been coaching girls.”

Fortenberry’s daughter and son-in-law – Dee Dee and Mark Montgomery – lost their Gulfport home as a result of Katrina, prompting them to move their family to Middle Tennessee.

“My daughter’s an only child, so when they moved up, we began to plan to, as soon as we retired, move up,” said Fortenberry, who officially retired as an administrator in the Biloxi, Miss., school system in 2014 after stepping away from coaching four years previously.

It was after he and his wife, Karen, arrived in south Williamson County, however, that Fortenberry picked up his third Mississippi title. With Pearl High School girls basketball coach Lacey Kennedy, a member of the United States Army Reserve, deployed to Qatar in November 2018 for 10 months, he helped Jason Kennedy lead the Jackson-area program to the 2019 Class 6A championship.

“Lacey, I’ve known from when she was playing high school and college basketball. Her husband and I are real good friends,” Fortenberry said. “She called me and said ‘the season’s getting ready to start in a few days and I’m being deployed for 10 months, can you come help me out?’ I told her, anything I can do, I’ll do.”

For the length of the season, Fortenberry commuted – staying during the week, returning home after Friday night games – helped with the Kennedys two sons and provided support on the bench as the Lady Pirates went 31-1.

“It was a great experience, but it was rough,” he said. “They asked me to stay (the following year), but I had to get back and see my grandkids play.”

The episode was emblematic of a career that also includes 1984 boys and girls state crowns at Hattiesburg Prep, in addition to stops at West Lauderdale near Meridian, Purvis and St. Martin in Ocean Springs.

“Like my wife said, I’m going to die somewhere in a gymnasium,” the 66-year-old said. “I don’t care who’s playing, I’m there watching.”

Among the teams he’s watched over the past few years were the Lady Raiders, who went 17-11 and clinched a Region 6-AAA tournament berth in Horton’s fourth and final season. Under Horton, who resigned in late June to take the boys basketball coaching position at Mt. Pleasant, Spring Hill posted its first winning finish in 18 years.

“I’d gotten to following Spring Hill and several other teams in the area,” Fortenberry said. “I met some of the kids. … I enjoyed watching Spring Hill play. When it opened up, I said, let’s give it a shot and see what happens.”

Fortenberry, whose grandson is Independence sophomore guard Jett Montgomery, will serve on a non-faculty basis at Spring Hill.

“It’s not ideal,” Farmer said. “Ideally, you’d like to have a coach in the building. It’s difficult sometimes to find the (teaching) certifications you need for the positions you need to fill, that can also coach. Sometimes you have to go the non-faculty coach route.”

Southern Middle Tennessee Sports