It was at the end of the 2019-2020 Missouri high school winter sports season when covid-19 became part of a high school athletes' vocabulary. It remains a high priority.
Most of those winter 2019-2020 sports were completed -- most notably except for the large school state basketball finals -- before covid-19 forced the cancellation of all high school sports for the rest of the school year.
A new year brought about the return of high school sports in the state, but with some modifications.
The same goes for winter sports, with modifications mainly concerning the state playoff system.
Missouri has added a Class 6 for basketball the 2020-2021 season. McDonald County is in Class 5, District 11, for both girls' and boys' basketball playoffs.
The other three teams in the district are Logan-Rogersville, Monett and Neosho.
The biggest change from past years is that the district tournament will not be played at a central location.
Instead, the games will be played at the home of the higher-seeded school -- the same format that is used for the football playoffs. The major difference between football and basketball is there is a girls' tournament as well as a boys' tournament. Under this format, the boys' and girls' teams from one school could be playing at different locations on the same night.
Dates for the district tournament are from Feb. 27 through March 6.
Sectional and quarterfinal games, usually played at a predetermined site, will also be played at participating schools. Which school will host those games is based on criteria set by MSHSAA, including previous games hosted.
Boys' and girls' sectional and quarterfinal games will not be played on the same night. Boys' sectional games are set for March 9 and for girls on March 10. Quarterfinal games are set for March 12 and March 13.
The state semifinals and finals will be held March 18-20 in Springfield. Games will be played at JQH Arena and Hammons Student Center.
The 2020-2021 wrestling state tournament will undergo major changes from past years, including moving the finals from Mizzou Arena on the campus of the University of Missouri to the Cable Dahmer Arena in Independence.
"We are grateful for the interest from the Cable Dahmer Arena personnel and their desire to help us provide a site for state wrestling championships to take place," the release said. "Please be advised that, due to the restructured postseason, adding 'sectional tournament' rounds for girls' and boys' wrestling, as well as having to secure an alternate facility for the state championships and navigate around the venue's availability, the MSHSAA wrestling postseason calendar has been impacted and will undergo substantial changes 2021 wrestling postseason. These postseason modifications are made in an effort to still provide postseason opportunities. The modifications to the postseason will equally affect each classification of boys' and girls' wrestling."
The current calendar has the boys' district tournament set for Feb. 13 and the girls' set for Feb. 5-6. Boys' sectionals are scheduled for Feb. 27 and girls' sectionals on Feb. 20. The state championships are set for March 9-13.
The top four finishers in each weight class at the district tournament will advance to an eight-man bracket sectional. The top three at sectionals will advance to the state tournament.
McDonald County is in Class 3, District 6. Other schools in the district are Carl Junction, Hillcrest, Neosho, Parkview, Webb city and Willard.
Sites for districts and sectionals have not been announced as yet.
In addition to being at a different location, the state tournament will have a different look. Instead of having a three-day tournament with all four classes, each class will have its own one-day tournament.