Owatonna Soccer Postponed due to COVID
Friday Night Lights won't be happening for the Owatonna High School soccer teams on September 18. The boys and girls matches against Albert Lea are postponed due to an increase in positive cases at Albert Lea High School. The OHS girls were due to host the Tigers Friday. The Huskies boys would have been at Albert Lea.
No reschedule dates have been announced. Albert Lea is the second Big Nine school to have sports affected by the pandemic. Winona has been on distance learning for a couple of weeks. The suspension of sports in Albert Lea is not mandated by the Minnesota Department of Health, but being done as a precaution by the administration.
The Albert Lea Tribune reports that the school is moving to distance learning for at least a week, "The district said nine of the 12 cases at the high school were related to a single event from this past weekend unassociated with the district. Although most of the positive cases had no contact with students in school, the district does not know who the individuals were interacting with in the wider community."
The switch to distance learning will last at least one week. The district will reevaluate the situation on September 24 according to the article.
Huskies girls soccer coach Nate Gendron says the team took the news of the postponement hard, "We unfortunately had to break the news to them (Thursday) night at practice...The girls were really excited to play on a Friday but that's not how it kind of turns out. Things are out of our control...The varsity players took it pretty hard. They were pretty sad and they definitely wanted to play."
OHS boys coach Bob Waypa commented, "We found out during practice (Thursday). I told the guys early in the season, 'Expect the unexpected this season.' Things are going to change. And we just have to be flexible and roll with whatever we have to do. Guys are disappointed, but at the same time they understand that safety comes first, whether it's players, officials, fans. It's the right decision. Hopefully we'll have a chance to make this game up later in the season."
Meanwhile Winona has not played a soccer match since September 3. Owatonna is scheduled to play the Winhawks on September 29. The Huskies next opponent is Rochester John Marshall on Tuesday, September 22. The boys host the Rockets at Lincoln. The girls play in Rochester with coverage planned for Kat Kountry 105 FM and the Kat Kountry 105 app.
Owatonna's cross country teams are scheduled to run at Winona Saturday, September 26. As of Friday, that event is still on the Big Nine Conference calendar.