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After being delayed for more than a month due to concerns regarding COVID-19, the three-week summer practice period for high school and middle school teams officially started on Monday.

Coaches of teams at Mingo Central and Tug Valley High Schools and at all of the county’s Middle Schools are permitted to work directly with their teams during the WVSSAC sanctioned practice period.

The practice periods are valuable assets to coaches and players alike as coaches can use the time to prepare returning and incoming athletes for the incoming seasons.

WVSSAC Executive Director Bernie Dolan said this past week that practice for fall sports has been pushed back until Aug. 17 to coincide with the start of school in West Virginia, which Governor Jim Justice set for Sept. 8.

Golf teams will be permitted to begin contests on Aug. 24 while volleyball, cheer, cross country, and soccer will start on Sept. 2, and football will begin on Sept. 3.

Dolan said that masks and social distancing will be required at athletic events but did not specify whether or not crowd capacities will be set.

With the start of games in West Virginia being pushed back until Sept. 3, the status of the highly anticipated Belfry vs Mingo Central game in the Community Trust Bank Pike County Bowl, which is scheduled for Aug. 28, is up in the air.

While no official statement has been made from Community Trust Bank regarding the contest or any other match up, it seems pretty set in stone that the Mingo Central and Belfry contest will not take place in 2020, at least not on Aug. 28.

Speaking of the Belfry Pirates, rumors are swirling that they have landed a couple of transfers on the boys’ basketball team.

According to multiple sources, 7’3” class of 2022 prospect Bol Kuir and 6’8” Thomas Tut have enrolled at BHS. Kuir, who took an unofficial visit to Kentucky in 2019, enrolled at Hurricane High School in Putnam County last fall, but was ruled ineligible by the WVSSAC and never played for the Redskins.

If the duo do indeed suit up for the Pirates in the 2020-21 season, then they should immediately jump into contention as one of the top teams in the 15th region along with reigning champion Martin County and Pikeville.

Jarrid McCormick is a reporter for the Williamson Daily News. He can be reached by email at jmccormick@HDMediaLLC.com.