PLATTEVILLE — The Platteville/Lancaster girls swim team officially became the first local team to have its fall season cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
UW–Platteville made a public announcement on its website Friday to suspend all club sports and intramurals for the fall semester.
“For the safety and well-being of all participants, the university is suspending all club sports, branch campus athletics and main campus intramurals for the fall 2020 semester,” the statement read. “This aligns with the precedence of the Pioneer varsity athletics suspension for the fall, as announced last week. The university will re-evaluate resuming student activities as the metrics of the COVID-19 situation evolve.”
Two weeks ago the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and UW–Platteville cancelled all Division 3 fall sports.
The announcement also includes, though not specifically stated, high school athletic competitions on campus.
The Platteville/Lancaster girls swim team uses the UW–Platteville Williams Fieldhouse pool for practices and home meets.
The Hillmen were scheduled to begin practice Monday and were scheduled to compete in the Southern Lakes Conference Relays Sept. 3 at Jefferson.
“It is disappointing to have the season cancelled or postponed, but really the decision was made for us,” said Platteville/Lancaster girls head coach Matt Wunderlin. “Due to COVID concerns we were not able to use the university pool for practice or meets, and the way other teams were going to do meets, those that are still having them, prevented us from participating. Logistically it was getting very difficult in planning how to maintain a safe practice and meet environment, so I think this was the right decision.
“As I told the girls team, the right decision isn’t always the easy decision. At the same time one of the most difficult parts of this pandemic has been all the uncertainty, and at least now they can plan knowing the fall season isn’t going to happen this year.
“We are still hoping that there may be the possibility of a short spring season,” added Wunderlin. “I’m not sure what spring will look like if we are allowed to go forward. I imagine, depending upon the situation at that time, that we could potentially have meets with other teams that have also canc-
elled their fall seasons.”
The Platteville varsity football team will also be affected as the Hillmen play their home games at UW–Platteville’s Ralph E. Davis Pioneer Stadium.
If the PHS football team has a season, it may play varsity home games on Saturdays at the high school. Platteville High School hosts JV games, but there are no lights on the high school field, which makes Friday night games impossible in the fall.
Platteville defeated Columbus at PHS Aug. 25, 2018 when the threat of thunderstorms forced the game to be postponed from Friday night to Saturday. It was the first varsity game played at the current PHS campus. The Hillmen have played all home games at Pioneer Stadium since it opened in 1972 and played at Hill Field in Legion Park prior to that.