IR softball practice, 2020 spring season

Members of the IR softball team warm up during the first official day of spring practice, on Monday, March 2. All 10 IR spring sports teams began their seasons on March 2, only to have those seasons put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association (DIAA) on Tuesday, March 24, provided another update to schools, student-athletes and the general public on the status of their 2020 spring sports season.

“In response to Gov. Carney’s Fifth Modification of the ‘Declaration of a State of Emergency for the State of Delaware Due to a Public Health Threat’ issued on March 22 and order that public schools remain closed through May 15 … [the DIAA] continues with no sport activities for member schools,” the DIAA announced. “The spring season is suspended while the Declaration of a State of Emergency is in effect and public schools remain closed.”

Furthermore, the DIAA said that they would continue to work with the State and its Department of Education regarding any daily updates related to matters with COVID-19. The DIAA Board of Directors is also looking to discuss and gather more information with the Governor’s Office, the DDOE and member school districts, as well as charter and private school officials, the spring sports committee chairs and the state’s Sports Medicine Advisory Committee, to see what the impact to schools and any potential possibilities for a spring sports season once schools do reopen.

New DIAA Executive Director Donna Polk has certainly had several hurdles to overcome in her first months on the job. Polk had to cancel the remaining DIAA state basketball playoffs for boys’ and girls’ basketball, which were in their respective Final Fours, as well as the championship final of the Unified Basketball division.

“DIAA leaders understand this is a disappointing, frustrating and stressful time for all involved,” Polk said. “DIAA membership consists of strong leaders, including administrators, athletic directors and coaches, and we appreciate your efforts as you lead your respective communities during this challenging time. We will get through this together, and one day when the time is right, we will play again.

“The DIAA office remains open during the governor’s stay-at-home order, and we will continue to serve the membership. We will provide services remotely and will have access to office phone lines and email.”

Locally, Indian River High School Athletic Director Todd Fuhrmann weighed in on the most recent DIAA announcement, reiterating that the Indians’ athletic programs will adhere to the governor’s orders. He said that they are looking forward to the potential of there being something of a spring sports season in the near future.

“We are going to continue to follow the governor’s recommendation but will continue to strive to keep a spring sports season in some way, shape or fashion, if possible,” Fuhrmann said.

And, to help their student-athletes continue to prepare and stay in shape for a potential season, Fuhrmann and his contingent of spring sports coaches have created an online physical fitness challenge on the PLT4M app.

In an effort to keep the competitive spirit going for the student-athletes while they are away from the playing fields and courts, the IR athletic department created a leader board on the PLT4M app to register their top performers in the fitness tests.

The leader board is open to all IR student-athletes and features challenges in exercises such as air squats, push-ups, sit-ups and burpees. The exercises and results are monitored daily, and the student-athletes are encouraged to log in each day to record their results.

Fuhrmann and his coaches were set to have a conference call on Wednesday, March 25, to continue ironing out further details on the competitions. There will be announcements that will be sent out to recognize the top female, top male and top team participants (most of a team showing results) in the athletic department’s TeamApp group, as well as on the school’s sports Twitter account @IndianRiverSpo1.

“So far, they are doing well, and we are having a coaches conference call tomorrow to really try and push this thing,” Fuhrmann said on Tuesday. “We will be sending out weekly challenges to individuals so that they came compete virtually with one another. We are going to recognize a top overall performer from both the females and males combined. They are encouraged to take the tests as often as they like, but they have to be sure to do the workout of the day as well.”

When it’s all said and done, and if the DIAA does, in fact, offer a spring sports season, the Indian River student-athletes will likely be ready to hit the ground running.

Staff Reporter

Jason has been in journalism for 20 years. He moved to Coastal Delaware in August 2017 with his wife, Jessica, and their daughters, Kylie, 17, and Grace, 12. He has a passion for high-school sports and especially values the relationships that builds.