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Murrow College of Communication at WSU

Adjusted WIAA schedules tax two-sport athletes

PULLMAN, Wash. (Murrow News 8) – Tyler Elbracht has been a key player for the 2021 Pullman Greyhounds. The second basemen lost his sophomore season to COVID-19 a year ago.

“It’s heartbreaking,” Elbracht said. “It really sucks, but it’s really great to be out here again.”

He’s eager to get back on the diamond and wear the name “Greyhounds” across his chest.

“This year is all about the kids,” Pullman’s Head Baseball Coach Kevin Agnew said.

Through six game, the team is undefeated eyeing down a potential playoff run. But with Covid changing and shortening season schedules, a postseason run would overlap into basketball season giving two sport athletes like Elbracht fits.

“I’m kind of mad about it,” Elbracht said. “I’m hoping there’s an option for morning practices so guy’s can start to get ready for the basketball season. But even then, it’s gonna kill me having days that start at 6 a.m. where I don’t get home until 9 p.m. because of baseball.”

With the current Greater Spokane League schedules, Pullman could end baseball season on a Saturday and tip-off from the hardwood just three days later.

“I know all those guys wanna play baseball and I’m encouraging them to. We’ll figure it out, just like we do everyday in the classroom,” Agnew said.

“It’s just the way it is this year,” Head Basketball Coach Craig Brantner said. “Baseball practice is over, they’ll probably be getting ready to come to basketball practice.”

The WIAA says the schedules are in alignment with state and local order. Waivers have also been granted to ease the strain on teams and athletes alike. For the 2021 season, players will only need 5 practices to be eligible, they can play two sports at the same time, and teams can practice on Sundays.

“We did the math and with what we had left on the calendar and that’s what we were able to offer,” WIAA Executive Director Mick Hoffman said. “If somebody could figure out a way to make everybody happy, I’d love to talk to them.”

But even with these waivers, Pullman hoops will only have 7 scheduled practices before their first game according to Coach Brantner.

“You just don’t have as much time to do that. You have to get ready for a game in 8 days,” Brantner said.

To make it all work, it’s a matter of sharing the kids and respecting the sport ahead of you according to Coach Agnew. He experienced it first hand while waiting for Pullman’s football season to wrap up earlier this month.

And like anything over the past year, it’s been a headache. They’re frustrated but equally grateful. Because this year, at least they get to play.

“Just see what I can do and make both work. Right now, Baseball is the priority since we’re in season,” Elbracht said.

Greyhound baseball leads the GSL heading into the second half of season while basketball is set to start May 18.



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