The Nome-Beltz Nanooks cheer teem at a basketball game (Photo: Janeen Sullivan, used with permission)

The Alaska School Activities Association (ASAA) announced in a press release Tuesday evening that all 2020 Fall State Championship Events have been cancelled. This news comes just a few days after the organization hosted the High School Cross-Country State Championships in Anchorage.

According to ASAA, this decision applies to football, swimming and diving, gymnastics, rifle, music, E-Sports, Drama/Debate/Forensics, and volleyball.

In addition, all other sports, including basketball, wrestling, and cheerleading, have been postponed until ASAA develops a revised calendar.

According to ASAA’s press release, their decision is based on consultation with the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services and the Anchorage Health Department, as well as current COVID-19 case counts and the projected increasing case counts in Anchorage and throughout the state.

Nome-Beltz High School Activities Director Pat Callahan described his initial reaction to ASAA’s announcement.

“This was really unexpected yesterday [Tuesday] when that press release came out, so we’re not really sure what to make of it right now, but I think by Friday we’ll have a good handle on what we want to do moving forward.”

– Pat Callahan

Nome-Beltz’s wrestling season was scheduled to start November 3rd, and the basketball and cheer seasons were set to begin January 4th.

NBHS cheer coach Rebekah Albertson says she wasn’t “entirely surprised” by ASAA’s announcement, considering the recent increase in COVID-19 cases throughout the state.

“My number one priority is to make sure that my students are safe, so if it’s not safe for us to have practices, then we won’t. But I am very optimistic that we will be able to have some semblance of a sports season because I know it’s really important to the students.”

– Rebekah Anderson

Callahan notes that Nome’s sports that are still in season, like volleyball, are allowed to continue practice and play games locally. However, at this point, Callahan is unsure what winter and spring sports’ seasons are going to look like.

“That’s all up to the ASAA board to decide when they rewrite that calendar. But we have a representative on that board, and I think we’ll be advising him over the next couple of days kinda what we’d like to see from Region I perspectives.”

– Pat Callahan

Callahan hopes that ASAA will “add volleyball, basketball, wrestling, and cheer in abbreviated seasons in the spring.”

The ASAA Board of Directors is scheduled to meet again on November 9th.

Image at top: The Nome-Beltz Nanooks cheer teem during a home basketball game in 2019. (Photo: Janeen Sullivan, used with permission)