MEDFORD, Ore.- With many seasons canceled, postponed, or limited, most Rogue Valley high school athletes and coaches are just thankful for the opportunity to play. But those who are getting the chance to hit the field may be doing it in front of empty stands.
For the Medford School District, capacity limits mean football, soccer, and volleyball may not be allowed to have fans in attendance. So MSD and other districts in the Southern Oregon Conference are setting up radio broadcasts and video live streams.
North Medford High School Athletic Director Brent McConaghy says he understands the frustration families may have but its all in the interest of getting athletes a chance to play.
“We one hundred percent understand how difficult it is to not see your athlete play in person and that this is a brand new feeling, relying on technology in order to watch these streaming services, but the big thing that the ad’s and our superintendents have done is put students first,” he explained.
He says they hope after two weeks in the High Risk category, Jackson County can move down to the Moderate category and they can welcome fans back in. Until then, he says you can check out MSD’s Athletics page for details on how to stream the games.
COVID-19’s restrictions are also impacting other athletic activities, like cheerleading. Because the capacity limits placed on events like football are so quickly filled up by players, officials, coaches and staff, many cheerleaders are not taking to the sidelines like usual.
Illinois Valley High School, having dropped football for the year, is hoping to add cheerleaders to the soccer sideline.
McConaghy says right now the Medford School District is looking at outdoor sport capacity limits and may have cheer teams at the school’s soccer games, but he says there could be even more opportunities later in the spring.
“Outdoor sports are going to see a lot of opportunities for that so there is a good possibility that maybe, just maybe, we could also have our cheer at baseball or softball games.”
He says anywhere they can find a spot to put their cheer teams in, they are going to do just that.
Grace Smith is co-anchor for NBC5 News at 6. The Chicago native is a recent graduate of University of Miami with a Communication Honors degree specializing in Broadcast Journalism. She minored in Creative Writing and focused her senior thesis on social media usage and engagement. During her time at the University of Miami, she anchored multiple award-winning student television programs, covering everything from music festivals to the Super Bowl.
Though she loved Miami’s beaches, she’s thrilled to be in the Pacific Northwest where she can experience all four seasons and have a real Christmas tree! When she’s not at work, you can find Grace glued to any television showing live sports (especially if it’s the Chicago Bears) or attempting a new recipe as she learns to cook.