Just as it was starting to prepare for its first game of the season, the Waterville-Elysian-Morristown football team will be forced to shut down all team-related activities after a member of the team tested positive for COVID-19.
“I don’t believe we’re the first team to have to go through this, nor will we be the last team,” W-E-M Activities Director Jeff Boran said.
Initially, W-E-M was scheduled to start its season at home against Alden-Conger on Friday night, and then travel to play at Mayer Lutheran on Thursday, Oct. 15.
Both games will now have to be rescheduled, although with only a six-week regular season and no bye weeks built in, rescheduling either game may be impossible, Boran said.
“I was kind of taken aback by the situation,” W-E-M coach Mike Richards said. “I thought we were doing the right things and it comes back to the idea that you can’t control everything. You just have to deal with the cards you’re given. At this point in time we’re taking the necessary steps and make sure we’re ready to go at the end of the two weeks.”
The decision to suspend all activities for the varsity football team and quarantine members of the team came after lengthy conversations with Le Sueur County and Minnesota state health officials Monday.
Since the program’s middle school teams practice at the middle school facility in Morristown, rather than at the high school in Waterville, they will be allowed to continue to practice during these two weeks.
The same goes for the school’s cross country team, which co-opts with Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton and will have its Gopher Conference meet this Saturday, as well as W-E-M’s volleyball team, which is preparing to start its season Thursday with a trip to play at Hayfield.
For the varsity football team, everything is put on pause until at least Oct. 19, the next date the Buccaneers are eligible to practice again.
“With these two weeks, we basically have to regroup,” Richards said. “After coming back after the two weeks, we’re going to be playing St. Clair/Loyola at home, so we’re going to be looking at what kind of game film they have and move on like that’s our next game and prepare for that for when we actually get back to practicing.”