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AROUND THE HORN

East Palestine cancels Rotary Invite

EAST PALESTINE — The East Palestine Rotary Cross Country Invitational scheduled for Sept. 12 has been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Meet officials felt they could not adequately fulfill the guidelines set by the state, city and OHSAA.

Schools from Columbiana, Mahoning, Trumbull and Portage counties were scheduled to compete. Last year there were 143 high school runners and 178 junior high runners.

The meet has been going on for four decades and the East Palestine Rotary buys the trophies and ribbons.

Cleveland schools halt sports

CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Metropolitan School District said Friday fall sports will not be played because classes will be held remotely at least for the first quarter.

“If it’s not safe to be in school, it’s not safe to be on the playing fields either,” CMSD CEO Eric Gordon said. “I know that’s a heartbreak for our young people.”

The Senate Athletic League is an OHSAA-sponsored athletic league that is made up of all 13 schools from the CMSD, nine of which play football.

Lakers stay in Ashtabula County

ANDOVER — Pymatuning Valley will play only Ashtabula County teams for the 2020-21 school year, superintendent Christopher Edison said.

“They (the county health department) were asking where we compete and I said, ‘Well, we have Trumbull County and we go right into Portage County, and then obviously Ashtabula County,'” Edison said. “They recommended that the best situation would be to try to play in county, especially with the coronavirus and the governor with his different levels and coloring systems.”

Edison said he notified the Northeastern Athletic Conference (NAC) on Thursday.

“It’s not just for football season. It’s our fall, winter and spring sports,” he said. “The goal is that if this is our best chance of having athletic competition for our kids then we gotta do it.”

Edison said the option of playing only county schools has been in the thought process.

“It doesn’t make sense for us at PV to go from a yellow county to a red county when we could just stay in county and play as safe as possible,” he said.

NAC schools include Badger, Bloomfield, Bristol, Chalker, Lordstown, Maplewood, Mathews and Windham.

Fairport Harbor is scheduled to join the conference as a full member in the 2020-21 season.

No Mount Union football in 2020

ALLIANCE — The Presidents Council of the Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) has postponed all NCAA intercollegiate athletics competition through Dec. 31 due to coronavirus pandemic. The OAC is discussing moving fall sports, including football, to the spring.

“This decision is very difficult, as we know how deep the desire to compete is with our student-athletes and that intercollegiate athletic events are an important part of not only life on campus but for our extended community of alumni and fans,” Mount Union president Dr. Thomas Botzman said.

The fall sports that have been postponed are football, cross country, golf, soccer, tennis and volleyball.

While competition will not occur this fall, OAC schools are planning to continue with conditioning during the fall semester by following health guidelines.

“The OAC believes we can continue to provide an excellent experience for our student-athletes,” OAC commissioner Tim Gleason said, “while continuing to make the health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches, staff, families, fans and campus communities our highest priority.”

The winter sports of basketball, indoor track and field, swimming and diving, and wrestling have been postponed through 2020 with plans to resume in January 2021.

PAC moves fall sports to spring

NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. — The Presidents’ Athletic Conference (PAC) Presidents’ Council voted unanimously Thursday to postpone football, soccer, volleyball and cross country until the spring of 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We wrestled long and hard before deciding to postpone competition in the high- and medium-contact sports of football, soccer, volleyball and cross country this fall, a difficult disruption for our student-athletes and coach,” said Dr. Calvin Troup, president of Geneva College and chair of the PAC Presidents’ Council. “That said, we remain hopeful that conditions will permit us to include these sports saely in an expanded PAC athletic schedule this coming spring.”

Men’s and women’s golf and women’s tennis will tentatively be permitted to compete this fall, while winter sports will not be held before Jan. 1.

“We remain extremely hopeful that improved, more available and more cost-effective testing procedures for COVID-19, if not an outright vaccine, will make spring competitions in these high-impact sports a much more viable opton than in the fall,” PAC commissioner Joe Anderko said. “Moving all winter sports competitions until after Jan. 1 also gives us a greater degree of confidence in both starting and finishing those seasons.”

Purple Raiders in record book

ALLIANCE — One of Mount Union’s most-anticipated football games will be broadcast by WIVM at 7 p.m. today.

The Purple Raiders came into the 1999 matchup against Otterbein trying to break Oklahoma’s NCAA record of 47 consecutive wins, a mark which stood for 42 years.

The game was played before a then record crowd of 7,132 in Mount Union Stadium. There were more than 100 media credentials handed out. Reporters representing USA Today, The New York Times, Washington Post, L.A. Times, ESPN and CNN crowded the press box.

Chuck Moore ran for 180 yards and scored four touchdowns and Gary Smeck was 15-of-26 passing for 282 yards and three touchdowns in Mount Union’s 44-20 win, extending the Purple Raiders winning streak to 48 games.

“These games, that’s what you play for,” Smeck said. “But I’m glad it’s over. Now we’lllget back in our routine. No more press conferences on Tuesdays.”

Mount Union defensive end Ryan Belaney from Lisbon had a team-high six tackles, including two sacks and two passes broken up.

The game is on Channel 39 over the air, Spectrum Channel 989 in Canton and online at WIVMTV.com.

MLB opener was most viewed in nine years

BRISTOL, Conn. (AP) — The pandemic-delayed Major League Baseball opener was the sport’s most-watched regular-season game on any network in nine years.

The New York Yankees’ rain-shortened 4-1 win at the Washington Nationals on Thursday night averaged 4 million viewers on ESPN, according to Nielsen fast national ratings. The game peaked at 8:30 p.m. EDT with 4.48 million viewers.

No regular-season game had been viewed by that many since 4.7 million watched Boston beat the Yankees 3-2 in 10 innings on Aug. 7, 2011, also on ESPN.

ESPN’s previous high for an opener was 3.7 million for a 2017 matchup between the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs. Chicago tied the score with three runs in the ninth, and Randal Grichuck hit a walkoff single off Mike Montgomery in the bottom half. Seattle’s 12-4 victory over Boston on opening night last year was seen by 1.2 million on ESPN.

The Los Angeles Dodgers’ 8-1 win over San Francisco in the second game of Thursday’s doubleheader averaged 2,764,000 viewers on ESPN. The network said it was its most-watched late-night Eastern time baseball telecast, topping the previous high of 1,817,000 for the Chicago Cubs’ 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 10, 2017, a game that ended on Anthony Rizzo’s single off Kenley Jansen.

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