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MHSAA winter sports to remain non-contact until Feb. 21

IRON MOUNTAIN — In a somewhat unexpected announcement, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced that winter contact sports — including MHSAA activities in girls and boys basketball, competitive cheer, ice hockey and wrestling — must remain non-contact through Feb. 21.

The previous emergency order was set to expire at the end of January and would’ve allowed those sports to begin contact activities Feb. 1.

“We found out about this decision this morning, like everyone else, and we will address it as quickly as possible after taking the weekend to collect more information,” MHSAA executive director Mark Uyl said in a press release on Friday. “We did not anticipate this delay in winter contact practices and competition, and today’s announcement has created many new questions.

“Obviously, this is disappointing to thousands of athletes who have been training with their teams over the last week and watching teams in other states around Michigan play for the last two months,” Uyl added.

The MHSAA will have no other announcements in this matter until early this week after more information has been gathered.

On a local level, West Iron County’s girls basketball team is practicing like every other girls team in the state, with only conditioning and non-contact drills and instruction being allowed. The Lady Wykons have five seniors on their roster, including Jordan Shamion, daughter of head coach Eric Shamion.

“The kids are definitely frustrated with the delays,” coach Shamion said via text message Friday evening. “I feel bad for these kids, especially my seniors. If science is still being followed in these decisions, I would sure like to see it.”

As a parent, Shamion notes he and the other parents of his players are frustrated Michigan is one of only four states in the country where contact high school winter sports are currently prohibited.

Iron Mountain wrestling coach Cory McLaren joked he may start a high school ice fishing team for his wrestlers. “Our kids are tough, they’re wrestlers,” McLaren said. “Of course they’re frustrated, but they’re handling it well.”

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The MHSAA contributed to this story.

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