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AIA Director Hines optimistic for normal high school sports fall season

(KTAR News Photo/Tyler Drake)

This story is part of KTAR News’ “Pandemic in Arizona: One Year In” special report on 92.3 FM, online and our app.

PHOENIX — David Hines, executive director of the Arizona Interscholastic Association, has high hopes for the fall high school sports season after a tumultuous year brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I am feeling a lot more optimistic as our numbers are going down,” Hines told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show on Thursday. “Our hope is that we’re getting back more to normalcy with the vaccinations increasing and people doing what they’re supposed to do.”

High school sports in Arizona have faced a number of roadblocks during the pandemic.

Most notably, the AIA executive board in early January voted to cancel the winter sports season as coronavirus cases soared. That decision was reversed four days later after backlash from families and coaches.

Mask mandates, occupancy restrictions and disjointed seasons due to COVID-19 concerns have also changed the landscape of what’s considered normal for high school sports.

Clint Treadway, varsity boys basketball coach at Arizona College Prep in Chandler, told KTAR News his team started its season shorthanded because families were worried about the spread of the virus.

“We can’t get that back, but we’re doing everything we can while keeping the community safe yet allowing these kids that opportunity because it’s so important,” Hines said.

The winter sports season is soon coming to a close, leaving just the spring season before Hines expects a more normal landscape.

“We are hoping we are back to some normal by the time we get into the fall,” Hines said.

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