The American Rivers Conference announced that all Winter sports will be postponed to Jan. 1, 2021, due to COVID-19. This decision was made in a unanimous vote by the conference’s president’s council.
The sports affected by the decision include volleyball, track and field and wrestling. The announcement also included that this is only a postponement of competition and it would not prohibit the teams from practicing. The basketball teams and wrestling can start practicing no later than Oct. 1; indoor track & field can begin immediately.
One of those teams affected is the men’s basketball team, and head coach Brad Bjorkgren along with his team are ready to eventually get back to work as a team.
“I can honestly say that I wasn’t surprised with the announcement,” Bjorkgren said. “I am just very thankful that we are planning on having a season.”
Even though Bjorkgren and his team are disappointed that they will not be able to participate in non-conference games, they are excited about the opportunities ahead.
“Whether you are a freshman, sophomore, junior or a senior, this is what you look forward to. Most of these guy’s main activities when they come to campus are to be a part of a team, and I’m thankful we can get back to that. I’m not sure of the schedule after Jan. 1, but I’m just happy there is a plan.”
In the midst of a pandemic, Bjorkgren has realized that planning ahead doesn’t always work, but adaptability is something that 2020 has taught him.
“Once I think there is a plan that is set in stone, I find out something different, so you have to be ready to change at all times,” Bjorkgren said. “We’re going to treat this fall like an off-season workout, for example, doing drill work and hammering the fundamentals.”
The attitude from the players has been positive and the team is ready and excited to get back in the gym.
“I think there are so many rumors that get floated around; they see stuff on social media, and they are thankful that they know what is going to happen now,” Bjorkgren said. “We’re going to do everything in our power to follow the COVID-19 protocols, so we can actually play the season. However, I know they still are disappointed that the season won’t start as planned.”
Another team affected by the delay is the wrestling team, and head coach Dylan Peters is in the same boat with Basketball.
“We will continue to train and get better. The NCAA has provided us more time to focus on self-improvement,” Peters said. “The conference has yet to finalize an official schedule for winter sports. We are working hard to do whatever is necessary to preserve a National Championship for the winter sports season.”
Both teams will begin practice Oct. 1 with hopes of competing at the start of 2021.