Mount View kicker Ryan Kirby boots an extra point against Maranacook during a 7-on-7 flag football game Friday in Thorndike. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

In light of a significant increase in positive cases of COVID-19 in Waldo County in recent days, Belfast Area High School athletic director Matt Battani, Searsport District High School athletic director Chris Hart and Mount View High School Principal Zack Freeman announced on Monday, Oct. 19 their schools will postpone or cancel athletic events for one week.

Belfast has suspended athletic events and practices, while Mount View will continue to allow teams to hold — and student-athletes to participate — in practices.

Searsport canceled practices on Monday, Oct. 19, though the school planned to hold practices throughout the remainder of the week.

“All [Regional School Unit] 3 athletic competitions will be canceled through Oct. 25, 2020,” said Freeman. “This is being done out of an abundance of caution. There will still be practices held during this time. If you have any questions or concerns please reach out by calling 207-568-3255.”

“Out of an abundance of caution with the dramatic increase in positive cases in Waldo County, Searsport District Middle/High School will not participate in athletic contests this week,” Hart said. “There will still be practices held during this time. RSU 71, RSU 3, and RSU 20 are unified in this temporary break in the athletic season and will reassess at the end of the week. If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to call 207-548-2313.”

Battani said after Waldo County had 11 new positive cases Friday, “we were worried so we decided to suspended sports on Friday, canceled our football game and cross-country meet and suspended Friday practices.”

Then, seven additional cases in the county were reported on Saturday, 10 on Sunday and 11 on Monday morning.

“Waldo County went from about five active cases to 46 in four days,” Battani said. “So we were glad that we suspended [athletics].”

Many of those numbers are believed to be linked to an outbreak at the Brooks Pentecostal Church and Lighthouse Christian Academy in Brooks.

As of Monday evening, multiple games on the Mount View athletics calendar had shown to be postponed, with the exception of a Tuesday field hockey game between the Mustangs and Waterville High School in Thorndike. Mount View field hockey coach Gloria Hewett confirmed that contest has also been canceled.

“It doesn’t bode well when in neighboring schools, there are COVID cases,” Hewett said. “That doesn’t make me feel real comfortable.”

Mount View field hockey has played six games so far this season, and Hewett if this shutdown could potentially end the season for the Mustangs.

“I feel bad, especially for my seniors, because we’ve had six games,” Hewett said. “Our Maranacook games were canceled because they had COVID in their middle school, and those games were canceled. As far as I know, those haven’t been rescheduled. We don’t normally play beyond October, because it gets too cold and hard to play. I guess we could schedule games a couple days into November, but I don’t know. And it’s been a long season, I’ve been practicing with kids since the middle of July, and have gotten six games out of it. No preseason games, no scrimmages, it’s been a lot of practicing without any games.”

Mount View receiver Ryan Kirby,left, can’t come up with this pass during a 7-on-7 flag football game against Maranacook last Friday in Thorndike. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

In a letter sent over school district’s Facebook page Monday, RSU 3 superintendent Charles Brown confirmed that “an individual associated with Mount View Elementary School recently tested positive for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). There is a possibility that other staff or students came in contact with this individual and therefore may have been exposed to the virus.”

However, three cases have directly affected Regional School Unit 71 schools, including one case at the Capt. Albert Stevens School in Northport, Ames Elementary School of Searsmont and Troy Howard Middle School of Belfast.

If numbers continue to go down by Friday, Oct. 23 Battani said he plans to check the wellness of his student-athletes and coaches on Friday and hopes to resume activities after school on Monday, Oct. 26.

‘“Once we see Waldo County has contained this outbreak and we can confidently go forward knowing our athletes and coaches are healthy, we will start the process of rescheduling,” Battani said. “But first we want to make sure this outbreak gets under control.

“My hope is to reschedule ASAP, but the numbers are climbing and it’s something we’re watching super closely.”

While Mount View has canceled games and Belfast has postponed its events, Freeman said, “if we can find a mutual time” to play previously-scheduled games the Mustangs would, under the right circumstances. Belfast and Mount View, separated by a few miles, have played each other in soccer, field hockey and football this season.

Overall, as of Monday, Oct. 19, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported there had been 124 cases, 64 recoveries and 14 deaths in Waldo County, with many of those deaths coming from an outbreak at a long-term care facility in Belfast in May.

 

Kennebec Journal sports writer Dave Dyer contributed to this report.

Related Headlines

Comments are not available on this story.