Practices were underway or about to get underway. Competitions were set to start.
Now, all of that is on hold for the all the coaches and athletes of Jordan's seven spring sports teams.
They are on hold because of the Minnesota State High School League's suspension of all practices until at least Monday, March 30 and games for all spring sports until at least Monday, April 6 because of the COVID-19 outbreak. (UPDATE: All games and practices are suspended until May 4)
Track and field, along with softball, were the only spring sports that had started practice before the suspension went into place. (Baseball had a week of arm conditioning but was not having team practices yet.)
For the Jordan track and field teams, it was a big season for them as they were making the jump up from Class A to Class AA this spring. The Hubmen track and field team is the defending Class A state champions.
"Practice was going great," boys track and field coach Ben Nylander said. "We have great numbers and great kids this year with a lot of positive energy."
Jordan track was set to have its first meet of the season on Friday where it competes in the annual Minnesota River Conference indoor meet at Minnesota State University-Mankato. The first outdoor track meet of the season was scheduled for Thursday, April 2 at Belle Plaine. That meet has been canceled.
"I was disappointed but understand the severity of the situation," Nylander said.
Last week, MSHSL put limitations on the contact coaches can have with athletes until further notice.
With that said, coaches are still encouraging their athletes to work out, stay sharp and be ready to go if the season ever gets started.
"I encouraged the athletes to control what they can control," Nylander said. "Basically, just keep working out on your own in order to be ready if and when we pick back up again. Try to stay positive and encourage each other as much as possible."
If the MSHSL gives the go ahead for the season to start again, how long for the team to be ready to compete?
"Given the unusual circumstances we wouldn't need much time at all to start competing," Nylander said. "Give us one day to figure out approaches and hand offs and we could be good to compete."
Jordan's trap shooting team wasn't outside practicing yet when the new rules were delivered but they are still feeling the effect of the suspension.
"The trap team had only gotten about three indoor dry fire practices before activities were suspended," head coach Jeff Radick said. "The upper grades get back into the swing of things pretty quick and actually lose focus after a few indoor practices anyways, but we would have liked to have gotten a few more practices in for the new kids. We traditionally take spring break week off and encourage outdoor live fire practice on their own. The COVID-19 protocols have all but shutdown the ranges so we are missing out on some those first shaking the dust off practices the kids do on their own."
He continued: "We are like every other sport, the top athletes will practice before the season on their own but the majority wait until we are in the season and have a schedule before they pick the equipment back up on their own. So far the suspension has just been a long spring break. Next week when we start missing out on outdoor live fire team practices the suspension will get real."
Radick said he encouraged his team to work on conditioning during the break and to continue the dryland training they were doing prior to the suspension.
"The struggle to hold up a gun for two rounds of trap is real at the beginning of the season," he said. "Trap is expensive so this at-home conditioning and practice moves is free practice so we encourage it all the time. Being realistic indoor practice does help but a minority of the kids do it so those lost team practices will be hard felt this season."
Because of poor spring weather the last few years, trap teams are used to getting outside late and getting thrown right into the competition fire.
"We are pretty used to being thrown into competition as soon as we can get outside based on some long winters and late springs in the past couple of years," Radick said. "Ideally, we like about two to three weeks of practice before before going into our conference play. I think we will be lucky if we get any practice in before shooting for conference scores."
When does trap shooting need to start to have a season?
"The week of April 21st is our drop dead date for a five-week conference season and being able to have our normal tournament schedule," Radick said. "We do have the advantage that our regular season is run by a nonprofit for the MSHSL so even without a season that will mesh with a MSHSL schedule, we may have a modified non-profit run season in May and June but then the tournaments would be a loss. We are cautiously optimistic at this point that we will have anything that looks like a normal season."
The Jordan baseball team was just having arm conditioning training when everything was put on hold.
The team is in more of a time crunch than other spring sports because of the need to condition the arm and the limits the MSHSL has put on pitchers with pitch counts throughout the season.
"Our team would/could be ready to go within two weeks time," head coach Brent Goracke said. "Let pitchers get some throwing and hitters see some pitchers along with all of the other nuances of the game. In my humble opinion for high school baseball only, I think the deadline for baseball would/could be the third week of April. This would allow no contests to occur before May 4. That would give our baseball players some time to prep arms. Have a three week conference schedule season only. With reduced pitch counts until playoffs and begin playoffs with the standard 105 max or in-season pitch counts. For baseball only again, all teams need to all start on the same level playing field with a hard date for start practice and hard date for contests."
While on this break, Goracke hasn't given his team practice plans or anything of that nature, he wants them to just get through this time of uncertainty healthy.
"We did not give the team any practice plans or suggest any baseball orientated structure what-so-ever," Goracke said. "These student-athletes just found out that school was on pause, their seasons were on pause, the lives they knew were on pause. The last thing we wanted was for them or their guardians to have to make decisions of their family based on a practice plan or suggestion from a coach to possibly do something that would put them in a situation to choose between health or a game. They can’t do athletic things if they are not healthy. Period! Not my place to put the athlete or the parent in a position to have to choose something like that."
He continued: "the emotional roller coaster the athletes, especially the seniors, are going through right now is enough. If the individual chooses to go do baseball things on their own to help navigate through these days, I completely understand. If they choose to stay home and watch The Andy Griffith Show with their grandparents, I completely understand."