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.”

Volleyball, girls soccer postseason play heats up

SM-Tn Sports

Summertown and Loretto are on a collision course, with a clash in the Class A state volleyball tournament looming after Tuesday’s quarterfinal action.

Summertown, the defending state titlist, opened play at Stewarts Creek High School in Murfreesboro with a straight-sets victory over Meigs County. The Lady Tigers prevailed 25-7, 25-9, 25-11 to move into a semifinal matchup Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. They’ll face Watertown, which defeated Union City 25-4, 25-11, 25-14 in the quarterfinals.

On the other side of the bracket, Loretto — the District 11-A and Region 6-A runner-up to Summertown — defeated South Greene 25-10, 25-12, 25-13. The Lady Mustangs will take on Sale Creek, a 3-0 (25-17, 25-13, 25-16) winner over Halls, in a 12 noon semifinal.

With Wednesday wins, the Lawrence County rivals will meet — for the sixth time this season — at 2:30 p.m. Thursday.

The championship game in the double-elimination tourney will take place at 10 a.m. Friday at Siegel High School.

Richland advances: Lexy Waldran scored twice and Grayson Bailey netted the gamewinner Tuesday night as Richland defeated visiting Harpeth 3-2 in the Region 3-A girls soccer tournament semifinals.

The Lady Raiders will host Valor Collegiate, a 3-1 semifinal winner over Hickman County, in Thursday’s 6 p.m. championship game. Both teams are assured berths in Saturday’s Class A sectional round, with the region titlist hosting and the runner-up traveling.

Off last week, off this week, Summit moves to No. 4 in AP

SM-Tn Sports

Facing another open date – the first originally scheduled off week of the season – Summit moved up a spot in the Associated Press Class 5A poll.

The Spartans, who picked up a ‘COVID win’ against Region 5-5A rival Shelbyville Friday, ascended from No. 5 following Knoxville Central’s third loss of the season. Previous No. 4 Beech also moved up one slot to trail top-ranked Knoxville West and No. 2 Powell.

Summit, which previously had its Week 5 matchup against visiting Overton and its Week 7 league contest at Page canceled for COVID-related reasons, is scheduled to play its regular-season finale Oct. 30 against visiting Region 5-5A foe Lincoln County.

In Class 6A, Independence travels to fifth-ranked Brentwood (6-2) in a key Region 6-6A contest. The game was originally scheduled for Oct. 2, but the Eagles were unable to play because they were in quarantine. Independence (5-1) came out of its COVID pause with a 56-0 win last week over Dickson County, its fifth straight since a season-opening loss to Summit.

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The top 10 teams in each of Tennessee’s six Division I non-financial aid classifications and the top five teams in each of the state’s three Division II financial aid classifications as selected by Tennessee Associated Press-member sportswriters and broadcasters follow (first-place votes in parentheses, records through Oct. 19, total points based on 10 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 10th-place vote and previous ranking):

Class 6A

1. Oakland (11)                       8-0     159  1
2. Maryville (5)                      8-0     156  2
3. Kingsport Dobyns Bennett (1)        8-0     136  3
4. McMinn Co.                      8-0     115  4
5. Brentwood                          6-2     93   6
6. Bradley Central                    6-2     65   8
7. Riverdale                          6-2     62   5
8. Ravenwood                          5-4     42   9
9. Bartlett                           5-1     41   10
10. Warren Co.                      8-0     31   NR
Others receiving 12 points or more points: Mt. Juliet 13

Class 5A

1. Knoxville West (17)                 8-0     170  1
2. Powell                             7-1     144  2
3. Beech                              5-1     120  4
4. Summit                             7-1     111  5
5. Rhea Co.                        8-0     107  6
6. South Doyle                        7-1     71   7
7. Knoxville Central                   5-2     58   3
8. Henry Co.                       6-2     51   8
9. Tennessee                          5-3     30   9
10. David Crockett                     6-2     27   10
Others receiving 12 points or more: Knoxville Halls 13

Class 4A

1. Elizabethton (17)                   8-0     170  1
2. Tullahoma                          8-0     153  3
3. Marshall Co.                    8-1     129  4
4. Creek Wood                         8-0     106  6
5. Lexington                          7-1     85   9
6. Springfield                        8-1     84   7
7. Hardin Co.                      7-1     75   2
8. Anderson Co.                    6-2     58   8
9. East Hamilton                      6-2     38   5
10. Sullivan South                     7-1     12   NR
(tie) Greeneville                      5-3     12   10
Others receiving 12 points or more: none

Class 3A

1. Alcoa (17)                         7-1     170  1
2. Milan                              7-1     131  3
3. Loudon                             8-0     130  4
4. Red Bank                           5-0     114  2
5. Pearl-Cohn                         4-0     101  6
6. Fairview                           6-1     77   7
7. South Gibson                       6-2     64   10
8. Covington                          6-2     57   5
9. Claiborne Co.                    7-1     45   9
10. Gatlinburg-Pittman                  7-1     19   NR
Others receiving 12 points or more: Kingston 17

Class 2A

1. Peabody (14)                       9-0     162  1
2. Meigs Co. (2)                    8-0     154  2
3. Lewis Co.                       8-0     134  3
4. Watertown                          7-1     106  4
5. Bledsoe Co.                     8-0     102  5
6. South Greene (1)                    9-0     95   6
7. Trousdale Co.                    7-2     60   8
8. Hampton                            6-1     49   7
9. Marion Co.                      5-1     41   9
10. McKenzie                           6-2     22   10
Others receiving 12 points or more: none

Class 1A

1. South Pittsburg (17)                7-1     170  1
2. Coalfield                          6-0     142  3
3. Greenfield                         7-0     121  5
4. Copper Basin                       8-1     119  4
5. Moore Co.                       7-1     83   6
6. Fayetteville                       6-2     67   2
7. Lake Co.                        5-1     61   7
8. Huntingdon                         7-2     50   8
9. Cornersville                       6-2     46   9
10. Gordonsville                       5-3     31   NR
Others receiving 12 points or more: Monterey 18; Cloudland 14

Division II-A

1. Davidson Acad. (16)               8-0     167  1
2. Donelson Chr.                                7-0     141  2
3. Jackson Chr.                   7-1     98   3
4. Univ. School of Jackson                  6-2     96   5
5. The King’s Acad. (1)                  7-2     82   4
Others receiving 12 points or more: Friendship Chr. 38. Nashville Chr. 35

Division II-AA

1. Christ Presbyterian Acad. (15)                           6-0     159  1
2. Christian Acad. of Knoxville (2)                            8-0     152  2
3. Lipscomb Acad.                    6-2     124  3
4. Evangelical Chr.                                5-2     110  4
5. Grace Chr.-Knoxville                    7-1     94   5
Others receiving 12 points or more: Lausanne 13

Division II-AAA

1. Brentwood Acad. (17)              6-0     170  1
2. Christian Brothers 5-1     138  3
3. Father Ryan                        5-2     130  5
4. McCallie                           5-3     103  2
5. Pope John Paul II                   6-2     44   4
Others receiving 12 points or more: Baylor 33; Memphis Univ. School 33; Montgomery Bell Acad. 15

Columbia Academy addresses scheduling vacancy with Georgia foe led by SEC commit

By Maurice Patton

Date Night wasn’t an appealing option for Charlie Lansdell.

With Columbia Academy facing an idle Friday following last week’s news that Clarksville Academy would be quarantined for two weeks, the veteran Bulldogs’ coach was able to fill the vacancy Tuesday – finalizing a matchup with Rabun County High School out of Tiger, Ga.

The two will play at Boyd Buchanan School in Chattanooga. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. (CT).

“He (Rabun County coach Jaybo Shaw) texted me last night,” Lansdell said. “He was looking for a game and he knew we were looking for a game. He offered me a financial incentive, we were able to find a common ground and a neutral site. I researched and watched some film, and I think it’s a good move on our part to hopefully put ourselves on a national stage.”

The challenge for Columbia Academy (1-5), coming off its first victory of the season – a 43-21 decision Friday over Division II-A West Region rival Tipton-Rosemark – will be slowing down Wildcats junior quarterback Gunner Stockton. The 6-1, 195-pounder, a South Carolina commit, is considered among the top signalcallers in the country in the 2022 recruiting class. He has thrown for 1,409 yards and 21 touchdowns while rushing for 624 yards and 12 scores, leading Rabun County to a 5-1 record in Georgia’s Class 2A (out of seven classes).

“We’re going at it as preparation for the playoffs,” Lansdell said. “They run a similar offense to the first two we’d see in the playoffs. Facing the No. 2 quarterback in the nation – hopefully we wouldn’t see that strong of competition (elsewhere). A five-star quarterback, we feel it will prepare us.”

Rabun County is located in northeast Georgia, near the North Carolina and South Carolina borders.

“It would have been a five-hour trip for us,” Lansdell said. “Chattanooga is a good midway spot for both of us. Boyd Buchanan is away Friday, so we worked through all the logistics today and found out we’d be able to do it.”

With a ‘COVID win’ over Clarksville Academy and a victory in the season finale at Fayette Academy, CA would secure a postseason berth and likely face early-round playoff contests against Middle Tennessee Christian and Jackson Christian.

Friday’s game against Rabun County will be live streamed on the NFHS Network.

Other schedule tweaks: At least two Week 10 contests have been moved to Thursday in anticipation of inclement weather this weekend. Both the Lawrence County-Summertown and the Stratford-Columbia Central games have been shifted ahead a day from Friday.

Back-to-back title quest continues for Lady Eagles

By Maurice Patton

“Defending state champions” is a particularly fitting description of Summertown’s volleyball team.

Heading into Tuesday’s Class A state tournament quarterfinal matchup against Meigs County, the Lady Eagles feature nine players that saw extensive time over the course of the 2019 season. That season concluded with a 3-1 title game victory over Watertown as Summertown wrapped up a 39-9 campaign.

“Last year’s team only had one senior,” said veteran coach Andrea Kelly, whose team takes a 31-4 mark into the eight-team tourney. “Everybody playing on the court this year played on it last year, with the exception of a couple of freshmen.

“We’ve got a lot of players that played a lot.”

The fact that they have been there and done that works in the Lady Eagles’ favor as they chase a second straight championship, by Kelly’s estimation.

“This is nothing new for them,” she said. “I think it helps us – but I (also) think it makes it tougher. Everybody’s trying to knock us off.

“It puts pressure on us to prepare ourselves mentally. We have the talent and skill, but can we (execute) the entire tournament.”

In addition to Summertown and Meigs County (18-0), the field for the double-elimination tourney also consists of Union City (15-5), Watertown (33-6), Sale Creek (21-4), Halls (23-7), Loretto (26-10) and South Greene (24-6).

Summertown and Loretto both emerged from District 11-A, with the Lady Eagles sweeping all five regular-season meetings against their Lawrence County rival.

While junior middle hitter Katie Burdette, the 2019 state tournament most valuable player, has been a constant for Summertown this season, senior outside hitter Miya Cole Brown gave her team a lift in the Region 6-A tourney – particularly in the finals, which was the fifth matchup with the Lady Mustangs.

“We struggled with Loretto,” Kelly said. “But Miya Cole was our go-to, in terms of sets. She couldn’t miss. She carried us through that tournament. She was the MVP, and she deserved it.

“It was fun to see her take that leadership role.”

Summertown plays the 9:30 a.m. quarterfinal Tuesday at Stewarts Creek High School in Murfreesboro, with Union City/Watertown following at 12 noon, Sale Creek/Halls at 2:30 p.m. and Loretto/South Greene at 5 p.m.

Semifinals are set for 9:30 a.m. and 12 noon on Wednesday, with elimination games to follow. Thursday will start with a pair of elimination contests, followed by the winners bracket final at 2:30 p.m. and two more elimination games at 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Friday’s championship game is scheduled for 10 a.m. at Siegel High School.

2020 Gridiron stat leaders

Rushing
(games, attempts, yards, average, TDs)

Destin Wade, Summit 6 69-713 10.3 9
Luke Perko, Zion Chr. 8 129-646 5.0 6
Jaxson Campbell, Independence 6 65-601 9.3 10
Austin Seals, Richland 6 90-597 6.6 4
Christian Biggers, Columbia Central 7 116-491 4.2 2
Zavier Davidson, Mt. Pleasant 7 79-480 6.1 7
Javen Edmiston, Summertown 6 89-473 5.3 5
Sam Edwards, Richland 7 88-389 4.4 7
Tre Hartwell, Independence 6 56-323 5.8 4
Brandon King, Summit 6 31-300 9.7 1

Passing
(games, completions, attempts, yards, TDs, interceptions)

Luke Perko, Zion Chr. 8 80-161-1118 16/6
Jaxson Campbell, Independence 6 71-127-1050 12/1
Brady McCanless, Columbia Central 8 81-142-837 6/8
Luka Boylan, Spring Hill 7 63-132-733 4/5
Destin Wade, Summit 6 44-74-713 9/5
Sam Edwards, Richland 7 48-90-457 3/6
Colton Shaffer, Summertown 6 29-71-352 3/6
Bryant Beranek, Columbia Acad. 5 26-63-329 3/9
Te’Varius Strayhorn, Mt. Pleasant 6 22-45-251 1/4

Receiving
(games, receptions, yards, average, TDs)

Calvin Wilson, Independence 6 15-399 26.6 7
Sam Sullivan, Zion Chr. 8 24-364 15.2 7
Steven Kinnard, Columbia Central 8 24-358 14.9 3
Collins Malone, Columbia Acad. 6 21-349 16.6 3
Max Brown, Zion Chr. 8 10-252 25.2 4
Ty Lockwood, Independence 6 20-251 12.6 0
Brady Pierce, Summit 6 12-236 19.7 3
Davis Duffy, Zion Chr. 8 13-218 16.8 2
Demarkus Brown, Mt. Pleasant 7 16-201 12.6 1
Remone Kelley, Spring Hill 7 11-164 14.9 2

Week 9 results, Week 10 schedule

Week 9 results

Columbia Acad. 43, Tipton-Rosemark 21 (Photo gallery)
Cornersville 30, Richland 13
Eagleville 18, Summertown 14 (Photo gallery)
Independence 56, Dickson Co. 0
Marshall Co. 21, Spring Hill 14 (2 OT)
Page 28, Columbia Central 10 (Photo gallery)
Zion Chr. 34, Mt. Pleasant 27 (Photo gallery)
Shelbyville at Summit, canceled

Week 10
(schedule subject to change)

East Hickman at Zion Chr.
Independence at Brentwood*
Lawrence Co. at Summertown
Mt. Pleasant at Eagleville
Richland at Moore Co.*
Spring Hill at Battle Ground Acad.
Stratford at Columbia Central
Columbia Acad. at Clarksville Acad.*, canceled
Summit idle
*Region game

Southern Middle Tennessee Sports