HARRISONBURG, Va. -- The coronavirus pandemic has caused changes and challenges for athletes and coaches all over the world, including in the Shenandoah Valley.
The James Madison women's basketball team posted a 25-4 overall record during the 2019-2020 regular season and the Dukes seemed poised for a postseason run. JMU clinched the No. 2 seed in the CAA Tournament and was considered a candidate for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, if the Dukes didn't earn the CAA's automatic bid by winning the conference tournament championship.
However, in an effort to prevent spread of coronavirus, the CAA and NCAA tournaments have recently been cancelled.
"For us, it was a very hard couple of days," said JMU head coach Sean O'Regan. "You're ready and you're ready to go to war and the rug is just pulled out and you're just done...You know I'm just kind of a little bit in shock with the whole thing."
All winter and spring sports competition at JMU and throughout the CAA has been cancelled. On the football field, spring practice has also been cancelled while the Dukes' upcoming Pro Day has been postponed. Outgoing senior football players from JMU's FCS national runner-up squad will have to wait to show off their skills to NFL scouts.
"Crazy," said Ben DiNucci, who served as JMU's starting quarterback in 2018 and 2019. "But you know the main thing right now is make sure that everyone stays safe and is healthy so I completely understand the decisions and you know what if it's backed up...in a few weeks, then it's fine as long as we are still getting able to do that, that'll still be good."
Motorsports are also being affected by the recent outbreak of coronavirus with NASCAR suspending its next two races. Weyers Cave native Quin Houff is in his first season as a full-time driver in the NASCAR Cup Series.
"That's a really unfortunate situation that we have in front of us as a sport," said Houff. "I hate that this weekend in Atlanta got cancelled so late on everybody, everyone from fans to us, we're already here ready to race."