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COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio High School Athletic Association said Wednesday morning the winter sports season is scheduled to start practice and competition on time, as previously announced in mid-September.

Girls basketball officially starts practice Oct. 23. Boys basketball, bowling, hockey and swimming and diving start practice a week later, with gymnastics and wrestling begininning in November.

OHSAA spokesman Tim Stried told the WCPO High School Insider Podcast the state governing body for high school athletics is still in regular contact with the state department of health and Ohio governor's office during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"(OHSAA executive director) Doug Ute had a call yesterday from Lt. Gov. Jon Husted where we're continuing to talk about the upcoming winter sports, just like we did the whole month of July and August about fall sports," Stried said.

"We're not out of the woods yet, but we're trending toward having our normal seasons."

Stried said the attendance limitations set forth by the state are still in place for indoor high school sporting events for this winter.

"We're still looking at no more than 300 people in a gym," Stried said.

This weekend is the start of the fall sports state tournaments with Divisions II and III boys golf and Division II girls golf in Columbus.

Stried said the state finals venues for boys and girls soccer (Nov. 13-14), girls volleyball (Nov. 12-14) and football (Nov. 13, Division I and Nov. 19-22 for the six other divisions) next month haven't been determined yet.

Factors that have influenced decisions for those venues include rental fees and COVID-19 related reasons.

Stried said there will likely two to three sites or more for the state football finals depending on the matchups.

If the state volleyball is not held at Wright State University's Nutter Center, Stried believes it will be held at another location in the Dayton area.

He said if the state soccer finals aren't held at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, then it would still likely be in Central Ohio.

"A lot of things are on the verge of being finalized and decided, but COVID — just between budgets and staffing and rental fees — has just made some of those larger venues where we want to be for those state tournaments just not possible this fall," Stried said.

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