Loveland High School Girls Golf opens the fall sports season on the first tee at Walden Ponds Golf Course with the ECC Preview
By Chuck Gibson
LOVELAND, OH (August 6, 2020) – The Loveland High School Girls Golf teams took to the tees early Thursday morning, August 6, to officially open the 2020 fall high school sports season for LHS in the Eastern Cincinnati Conference (ECC) preview at Walden Ponds Golf Course.
Brian Conatser, Athletic Director, LHS (Provided)
Athletic Director Brian Conatser expressed hopeful enthusiasm for a fall sports season in a conversation Wednesday. He was especially excited about the impending start of the golf season for the LHS Girls Golf teams led by head varsity coach Barb Orsinelli set to tee off for the ECC Preview Thursday morning.
“Ready to roll. We’re starting tomorrow,” said Conatser. “I’ve never been so excited to watch golf in my life. Our girls ECC Preview is tomorrow. Then our boys start next week and then girl’s tennis starts next week as well. We’re pretty quick out of the gate with those three individual sports; that’s for sure.”
Conatser cited the ability of those low-contact sports to maintain the social-distancing requirement guidelines as reason for hope those fall sports seasons will play out as scheduled
“I don’t foresee them being shut down unless the hammer does come down from the OHSAA or the government,” Conatser said. “Those are the safest.”
Barb Orsinelli, Coach, Girls Varsity Golf, LHS (Provided)
While cross country has been moved off the “contact” list, Conatser explained it still has not been reclassified as low contact as it pertains to OHSAA (Ohio High School Athletic Association) guidelines. Schools are awaiting that reclassification.
“We do know the OHSAA is having its preliminary invite on August 15, and we are one of the schools that were invited to that,” said Conatser. “We just got that confirmation two days ago. We’re excited that’s going to continue on with the same ability as other low contact sports.”
Andy Cruse, Varsity Football Coach, LHS (Chuck Gibson)
The question remains what, if any, the fall sports season will look like for football and soccer which land within the OHSAA category of contact sports. Currently, they are limited to practicing with no final approval from the Ohio government, the OHSAA, or the health departments on actual competition with opponents. Loveland High School teams continue to practice within the allowable guidelines preparing for an uncertain season. Covid-19 cases have had an impact on the Tiger sports programs. Girl’s Soccer is in quarantine right now.
“We did have a couple positive cases,” Conatser said. “At that time, we did quarantine the team for 14 days.”
No Loveland student/athlete has been turned away, is not playing, because they tested positive for Covid-19 according to Conatser. He confirmed Loveland has had two cases where an athlete tested positive for Covid-19. They’ve also had kids with a family member tested positive. In those cases, they have followed the guidelines recommended by Hamilton County Public Health Department and the Ohio Department of Health for sports.
“It’s (Covid-19) here,” said Conatser. “It’s not going anywhere. I think we’ll see it again.”
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Members of the LHS Football team head to the parking lot after a recent practice (Chuck Gibson)
While there are encouraging signs high school football will be played at Tiger Stadium this fall, the question remains: Will there be fans in the stands? (Chuck Gibson)
Being prepared and responding to any case which may occur is built into their practice plan. The Athletic Department is in constant contact with the coaches. The teams are practicing in small groups they call pods. It is all about getting in the information so they know which pods are impacted if the situation arises.
“We’re not looking at the whole team having to be quarantined,” Conatser explained. “It would just be that pod. We’ve learned this whole summer how to behave more appropriately. We are really strict. We are following every guideline sent to us and our coaches. You can’t control where families go, what the behavior practices are outside of the school. We’re trying to do our part to limit exposure.”
Conatser was “extremely encouraged” with the most recent news they no longer have to test all athletes directly prior to a competition. It served as an indicator of real positive progress between the office of the Governor of Ohio and the OHSAA officials for a possible solution to approve competition in contact sports. Prior to announcing the change in testing, schools/teams had to have everything in-hand 72 hours prior to a contest.
“That’s been waived off as they reevaluate what that process will look like,” Conatser said. “Scrimmages are still suspended. That’s okay; more information is going to come. I see it as a very encouraging sign for our conference and some of the competition we play as well.”
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