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COVID-19 wreaking havoc on sports schedules

Chad Frey
The Kansan
Newton's Jaxon Brackeen (1) drives past McPherson's Seth Madron (21) during their game Tuesday night. McPherson defeated Newton 75-61. [Sandra J. Milburn/HutchNews]

A COVID-19 exposure and changes made by the Kansas State High School Activities  Association are forcing schedule havoc for local sports teams. 

For Newton High School basketball, it started with a close contact during a recent game at McPherson. As a result, two games have already been postponed, including Tuesday night's league games with Hutchinson. That move affected boys and girls varsity, junior varsity and freshman games. 

"We had to quarantine a significant number of our players because of a contact that happened during the McPherson game. We found out about it late Friday," said Brian Becker, activities director at Newton High. 

The teams are scheduled to host Campus on Friday — pending test results that are expected any day. 

"We are hoping to hear results of tests for all of our kids quarantined," Becker said. "If they get results back that are negative, we will play. If we don't, we'll have to postpone, because they will still be quarantined."

Those games were originally scheduled to be the final games before winter break — but that is no longer the case. Changes to the winter coach/player contact rules by KSHSAA forced the move of games scheduled for Maize South. 

"They extended the normal moratorium so we can not practice or play with the kids," Becker said.

The new coach/player allowed contact date is Jan. 3. Newton moved some events — namely the games originally scheduled for Jan. 5 and a swim meet that was scheduled for Jan. 7 — to give teams practice time before returning to competition. 

The basketball games at Maize South have been moved to Dec. 21. 

The Newton Swimming Invitational II will be moved from Jan. 7 to Jan. 11.

The Railers are not the only local team to have games postponed this week. 

After eight straight wins, the Bethel College men's basketball team closed off the December portion of the schedule with a postponement — St. Mary was scheduled to play in North Newton on Dec. 14. The 5-4 Thresher women were affected by the Dec. 14 postponement, as well. 

That game was postponed due to COVID-19. A makeup date is to be determined. Also on the makeup schedule for the Threshers is a game originally slated for Nov. 10 against Southwestern. Bethel is scheduled to return to action Jan. 8.