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Five Husson University athletic teams participated in activities on Friday, but those likely are among the last competitions they will be involved in this spring.
With concerns about the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), the North Atlantic Conference on Friday suspended all athletic competition until further notice.
“The NAC has temporarily suspended all conference competition and will reassess the situation as more information becomes available,” a NAC release read. “NAC presidents and athletic administrators continue to follow the rapidly changing situation and will base decisions on developing facts moving forward. The health and safety of NAC student athletes and coaches, as well as institutional staff members, parents, and fans, remains of utmost concern.”
Husson University of Bangor on Friday afternoon joined five other conference schools in suspending their spring seasons, while the University of Maine at Presque Isle and the University of Maine at Farmington have canceled their seasons outright.
Husson’s track and field team will complete its participation Friday and Saturday at the Coastal Carolina Invitational in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, then is scheduled to return home on Sunday.
“We won’t be engaged in any more competitions for at least a couple of weeks,” Husson University athletic director Frank Pergolizzi said. “It is going to be April before we think about playing a game in any sport. Even if we wanted to play [after that], we wouldn’t have anyone to play.”
Pergolizzi said one of the most difficult aspects of the situation is the uncertainty, which is a contrast to other tragedies such as Hurricane Katrina.
“When it was over, you knew what you were dealing with. This thing could go one for three weeks or three months,” Pergolizzi said.
Maine Maritime Academy in Castine has suspended its spring sports indefinitely, while Thomas College in Waterville is suspending all college-sponsored travel outside of Maine and all on-campus sporting events with out-of-state opponents.
Northern Vermont University-Johnson and NVU-Lyndon have suspended all athletic events until further notice. SUNY Delhi and the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts are other schools competing in one or more NAC sports.
SUNY Canton, like Husson, is adopting a wait-and-see attitude.
The Husson baseball and softball teams were to conclude their spring trips with games in Florida on Friday.
Husson baseball beat Medaille 16-6 in Auburndale.
“We were pretty grateful and blessed to be able to give our [six] seniors one more shot to put on a Husson uniform,” first-year Husson coach Chris Morris said.
Morris said it took a lot of phone calls to find an opponent to replace Westfield State, which backed out of its scheduled Friday game.
“We were fortunate. It was a team effort,” he said.
He acknowledged it seemed strange to be playing when so many games and athletic activities have been cancelled at all levels.
“Our administration did a great job handling the situation. It was a very delicate situation for us to be able to finish out the trip. A lot of schools were canceling in the middle of games. Teams were just walking off the field,” Morris said. “We were one of the lucky ones.”
Morris said Husson players were shocked when all the cancellations occurred.
“It was something new for everybody, including myself. You can prepare for a lot of things as a head coach, especially a first-year head coach, but never for that type of situation,” he said. “I was proud of the way the kids handled it. They could have packed it in and said this is over but they went out and played great baseball.”
The Eagles were scheduled to fly back to Bangor on Friday night.
The Husson softball team was in Clermont, Florida, where it had Friday games against Heidelberg College in the afternoon and Western New England at night.
The men’s lacrosse team played its final game Friday against Curry College in Sparks, Maryland. The women’s lacrosse team played its final spring break game Thursday in Hilton Head, South Carolina, losing 20-7.
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