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Campus closed; spring sports on the road

By Neil H. Devlin, Mullen Sports Information Director
Mullen elects to be pro-active about COVID-19; spring sports mandated to play away events at least until end of the month.
With the uncertainty surrounding the evolving COVID-19, Mullen has decided to close its campus until spring break is completed, meaning its spring sports will begin the final season of the school year with a modified schedule.

However, Mullen's girls basketball team will continue to play in the Class 4A Colorado tournament today (March 12).

School President Dr. Raul Cardenas announced on Tuesday that the closure before spring break will prepare teachers for remote learning and give an opportunity to thoroughly sanitize the school. All student activities were cancelled starting 3 p.m. on Wednesday, March 11, through Monday, March 23. Mullen will be on Spring Break from March 16-23 and no one is permitted on the Mullen grounds during the closure during the sanitation process to prevent contamination.

While Mullen has no confirmed cases of COVID-19, the school’s approach is pro-active and preventive, Cardenas said. Faculty and staff need to prepare for a potential long-term closure and once the campus is closed the buildings will be cleaned by a third-party, professional cleaning company.  

Mullen, the defending Colorado 4A girls champion, will face Berthoud as planned at 4 p.m. at the Denver Coliseum. A victory would advance the Mustangs to Saturday’s championship game at 1 p.m. As of Wednesday, the city of Denver had no plans to close the historic venue, but the state organization has set up a limited viewing base – only essential school personnel will be allowed into the Coliseum, all media with a state badge and each of the players will be permitted four fans of their choosing.

Also, Mustangs sophomore Agur Dwol, currently ranked fifth nationally in the triple jump, will head to New York City this weekend to compete in the New Balance Indoor Nationals to be held at the fabled Armory. The defending Colorado champion’s best effort is 40 feet, 9.5 inches.

However, Mullen’s spring sports of baseball, girls golf, boys and girls lacrosse, girls soccer, boys swimming and diving, girls tennis, and boys and girls track and field are facing postponements, cancellations and/or a series of away events, including practices, until at least the final week of the month.

The baseball team’s trip to Arizona over spring break was cancelled and coaches scrambled Tuesday to fill their schedule. The Mustangs’ opener, at Highlands Ranch today, 4 p.m., will go on as planned, and they have added away games at Dakota Ridge on March 17 (it was to be their home opener); at Mountain Vista (March 18); at ThunderRidge (March 20); and at Heritage (March 23) to make up for the lost out-of-state trip.

In addition to boys swimming and diving, which has all away meets as the school doesn’t have a pool, other spring sports are scrambling to fill out their early season schedules. Cancellations can lead to forfeits and force state-mandated fines and suspensions, although the landscape seems to change by the day. In addition to the Ivy League cancelling its end-of-season men’s and women’s basketball tournaments and shutting down its spring sports, the NBA suspended the rest of its regular season late Wednesday night and the NHL was to assess its immediate future by Thursday. Virtually every college basketbal tournament will be played without fans, including in the NCAA men's and women's Division I brackets. Speculation and rumors seemed to be everywhere as other sports leagues on all levels, concerts and public gatherings of any kind were in jeopardy, and in-state school districts were weighing their options to temporarily close near a time when most will be on spring break.

Concerning Mullen’s early closing, it’s an unprecedented inconvenience for his school’s spring sports, Cardenas agreed, one that continues to grow nationally and internationally, but he stressed that the safety and well-being of school administration and the student body remains the top priority.