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Some area athletes will still earn letters for washed out season

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HARTINGTON — With the shuttering of the 2020 spring sports season the reactions have been as expected.

Sadness, disappointment and anger are all part of the landscape of emotions that have taken hold during an unprecedented time that all know is a necessary evil to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

But one question still lingered: What does this mean for earning an athletic letter?

Many Northeast Nebraska schools didn’t have answers, not yet anyway, but the issue is at hand.

Cedar Catholic High School decided Friday night what it will do for its athletes.

“We are going to letter all the seniors that were already out before the season was canceled,” Cedar Catholic athletic director Chad Cattau said. “All underclassmen that go out next season that letter will earn a letter for this season as well. There are other schools using this idea so that’s where we got the idea. We decided we just didn’t want to give everyone a letter, but by using this concept it will allow underclass kids a chance to earn one next season.”

Hartington-Newcastle High School Principal Corey Ulrich said the district was still looking at options.

As for the economics of the missed season?

“Our spring athletics are not a money maker because we don’t charge admission to get into the meets for track and golf,” Uldrich said. “This will not have any impact financially on the programs or the school.”

Laurel-Concord-Coleridge principal and activities director Ken Swanson addressed how track and golf athletes will be lettered.

“Students who participated in organizational meetings to sign-up and/or participated in practices for boys golf and girls and boys track and field will be awarded letters under the following criteria,” he said. “Seniors who lettered in the previous school year (2018-2019) for the sport will be awarded a letter for the 2019-2020 season. Freshmen, sophomores, and juniors will be awarded a letter for the 2019-2020 year provided they meet the lettering requirements during the next year 2020-2021 season.

“Students meeting this requirement will receive both the 2019-20 and 2020-21 letter awards after the completion of the 2021 season.”

At Wynot, it actually isn’t a point of discussion.

“We haven’t even discussed the spring sport lettering,” Wynot athletic director Steve Wieseler said. “My understanding without the season, we probably won’t have any letters awarded. The loss of spring sports and any season is extremely hard on kids. These are once in a lifetime opportunities that they are unable to take advantage of. Kids are resilient, however, and will adjust.”

As far as the economics of the loss of sports, this may be the only positive that comes from the pandemic.

“Economically the lack of spring sports is not an issue for the school,” Wieseler said. “It actually saves money cause we never host a track meet and track is our only spring sport that we offer in our small school.”

Swanson said the economic impact at LCC will be minimal in scope of the total athletic program.

“The other often overlooked impact is the fact that our athletes were not able to compete this season and for our seniors they were deprived of the opportunity to compete in their final year of high school,” he said.