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story.lead_photo.caption Helias' Zach Davidson delivers a pitch during last season's Class 4 semifinal game against Borgia at CarShield Field in O'Fallon. The Missouri State High School Activities Association announced Thursday all 2020 spring sports championships were canceled. Photo by Jason Strickland / News Tribune.
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The last domino fell Thursday, ending the hopes of any high school sports taking place in Missouri this spring.

Announcements coming from Missouri Gov. Mike Parson and the Missouri State High School Activities Association canceled both the regular season and postseason for Missouri high school spring sports due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The sports affected by the announcement include baseball, boys golf, boys tennis, girls soccer, girls spring softball and boys and girls track and field.

Shortly before 3 p.m. Thursday, Gov. Parson tweeted: "We are ordering all Missouri public and charter schools to remain closed through the remainder for the academic year with the exceptions of nutrition and child care services that are outlined in our recent health order."

Prior to Parson's announcement, all Cole County schools had announced earlier this month they would remain closed through May 1, with the earliest date to return to school being May 4.

On March 16, MSHSAA sent a press release announcing it was not canceling any spring sports championships at that time.

"If we are able to maintain locations for hosting the championship series, and schools are wishing to participate in the postseason, we will conduct the championships," MSHSAA executive director Kerwin Urhahn said in the press release.

However, in that same press release, MSHSAA said, "If a school has determined that they are closing for a period of time due to COVID-19, no practices or games should occur during that time."

With Parson's announcement for schools to remain closed for the rest of the 2019-20 academic year, that meant schools could not hold practice or participate in any games, meets or matches for the rest of the school year as well.

The other shoe fell shortly after 4:30 p.m. Thursday, when MSHSAA issued a press release announcing it had canceled all remaining postseason events for the 2019-20 school year.

"This decision is very difficult for all involved especially given the impact it will have on our students, parents, coaches, teachers, and administrators throughout the state," Urhahn said in the press release. "We thank all of the participants, the coaches/directors/advisors, the administrations, the parents, and everyone else who has dedicated tremendous amounts of time, passion, and effort to these events."

MSHSAA also noted the impact of its announcement on the high school seniors, who will exhaust their remaining eligibility "without taking the field, court or course."

"To our senior participants — we thank you for everything you have done for your schools and communities and wish you the very best in your bright futures," Urhahn said. "While this is a difficult ending, the lessons you've learned and friendships you've made through high school activities will last your lifetime."

This year will be the first time Missouri will not have a state track and field championships since 1927, the first year of the event. The state track and field championships have been held in Jefferson City every year since 1979, with the exception of last spring, when Class 3, 4 and 5 were held at different locations due to an EF-3 tornado that hit Jefferson City on May 22.

Parts of the state track and field championships were held in Jefferson City from 1976-78.

This will be the first time Missouri will not have state baseball championships since its first year in 1950. Blair Oaks was the defending Class 3 state champion, while St. Elizabeth was looking to defend its Class 1 state title.

For girls soccer, girls spring softball and boys tennis, 2020 will also be the first time their state championships will be canceled since their championship events began. Boys tennis state championships started in 1968 and girls soccer state championships began in 1985, while girls spring softball has only been around since 2014.

Boys golf state championships began in 1935, but they were not held from 1943-46.

In Thursday's press release, MSHSAA added its staff is looking forward to high school activities resuming in the 2020-21 school year.

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