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Jeff Spiwak, seen here when he was the head football coach for Clinton, is the new athletic director at Milton High School.

Like the majority of area schools, Milton High opted to move its 2020 fall sports programs to the spring of 2021.

The uncertainly of the COVID-19 pandemic made the logistics too difficult to try and plan and schedule anything in the fall. The Badger South Conference, which Milton is a member of in all sports but football, is not conducting any fall sports this year. And the newly formed Badger Large football conference also pushed its fall season to the WIAA’s modified shortened spring season.

Milton athletic director Jeff Spiwak said the Red Hawks’ fall sports programs and athletes have remained active through open gyms and the 15 allotted contact days for coaches and athletes that the WIAA is allowing for all fall sports programs that opted to postpone their seasons until spring.

The virtual coaching aspect has fallen by the wayside at Milton, according to Spiwak.

“I think virtual coaching right now, for us, has diminished returns because we’re back in school and coaches and athletes can see each other,” Spiwak said.

“Coaches and athletes are able to get together with the added contact days the WIAA has given us and do some things as long as they’re following Rock County Health guidelines.

“That means socially distancing, wearing masks at all times indoors and each athlete having separate water bottles. And everyone understands that.”

Brodhead High returned to on-campus learning last Thursday, and according to athletic director Brian Kammerer, the fall sports programs have suffered with the school being forced to switch to online learning early in the first week of classes due to a spike in coronavirus cases. Brodhead athletes had no access to the facilities at the high school, and Kammerer said the only real online contact fall coaches had with their student/athletes was to simply check in and see how they’re were doing.

“We’ve really done nothing,” Kammerer said. “We were prepared to move sports to the spring, but not for school to start and then go virtual right away. Our student/athletes needed to focus on school first.

“But now that we’ll be back in school, we’ll hopefully start scheduling some open gyms and start using our contact days.”

Janesville Craig has also been virtual since early in school year.

Like Brodhead, Craig athletic director Ben McCormick hopes athletes can start using the school’s facilities when students return on campus. Craig has a large fieldhouse, an expansive weight room and its gymnasium that McCormick hopes can be fully utilized.

“A lot of it is going to depend on what we’re allowed to do and how many in a group can be together at one time,” McCormick said.

“The majority of our athletes are working out on their own, but having them together with their coaches, obviously makes things easier. And the extra contact days the coaches now get will be fully utilized.”

Blake Budrow is the longtime girls volleyball coach at Craig. He said his team has been conducting weekly Zoom meetings each Wednesday but is anxious to get back on the court, take advantage of the contact days, and most important, see his players and students.

“Right now, it looks like we can have 10 girls together at one time, with two kids allowed for one ball,” Budrow. “It’s not the best scenario but that may change, too. Hopefully, the restrictions are lifted a little bit, and we can use some of our contact days for instruction early on and then hold some intrasquad scrimmages later on.

“Our girls did play in a couple of tournaments, including one in Appleton a couple weeks ago. They’re excited to get back on the court, and so am I.”

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