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Column

NDN spring sports preview still on

It is new territory for all of us no matter what walk of life we are in or what age we are. These are unprecedented times impacting all.

Yes, right now the sports world is shut down. Everyone is walking on the side of caution and for the greater good. People are becoming ill from the coronavirus and there are deaths from this virus so it is important we all take it seriously to help prevent or at least limit its spread.

Here in Iowa, we were fortunate enough to complete all of our high school winter sports championships. My home state Kansas — as many other states also did — canceled their high school basketball championship tournaments last week.

Also in Iowa, the target date to resume school and spring activities is April 13. Things change quickly with this health issue and we have to be patient as those in charge of government, education and other aspects work through the process with our health care industry for the best possible solutions.

The Newton Daily News, Jasper County Tribune and PCM Explorer are continuing to publish to provide local news as it happens.

With that said, the NDN sports staff of myself and Troy Hyde will produce a 2020 Prep Spring Sports Preview section even with the uncertainty of spring high school sports seasons in Iowa. We believe all the athletes out for spring sports in Jasper County’s five schools — Newton, Lynnville-Sully, PCM, Colfax-Mingo and Baxter — deserve to be recognized as all the other athletes this year.

The special section is set for publication in the middle of April. Hang in there and be safe.

I was talking with a friend of mine in Kansas over the weekend. She is a bit older than I am, a former teacher and administrator, a former coach’s wife, mother of high school coaches and grandmother of school age children. Susie is also a big sports fan.

It’s amazing how well we get along as she is a graduate of the University of Kansas and I a graduate of Kansas State University. We each love our alma maters and their athletic teams. To say, Susie is a KU basketball fan is an understatement.

Susie loves the NCAA Tournament — March Madness — and of course, the KU Jayhawks finished this unfinished postseason atop the Associated Press men’s basketball poll. She said to me “there goes five weeks of basketball watching for me,” when it was announced the Big 12 tournament was canceled followed by the NCAA tournament.

The NCAA Tournament was to have tipped off on Tuesday, St. Patrick’s Day, with the First Four in Dayton. The tournament would have gone through April 4 and 6 with the Final Four in Atlanta.

Not having college basketball to watch is tough for fans but it was a necessary step. For me, it’s not as rough because I’m not a big basketball fan that I have to fill out a bracket and watch all the games. I’d watch if my K-State Wildcats were playing.

Unfortunately, the Wildcats did not have that kind of 2019-20 season. The good thing about the Wildcats is they finished their season on back-to-back victories. The Big 12 Conference tournament opened March 11 with two games — 10th-seeded K-State beat No. 7 TCU, 53-49 and Oklahoma State edged out Iowa State 72-71.

K-State won its Senior Day game in Manhattan with a 79-63 win over Iowa State. I have that to build on for next year.

NCAA has canceled all spring sports at all levels as did the National Junior College Athletic Association. Professional sports are on hold as we all run the course against COVID-19.

We all have to be smart, follow safe health measures, stay informed and be kind to one another. Practice social distancing as much as possible and support our communities.

Contact Jocelyn Sheets
at jsheets@newtondailynews.com

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