By: Sarah Yi — Editor-in-Chief
The MIAA Board of Directors recently gave the go ahead for basketball, swim/dive, gymnastics, and ice hockey as part of a modified winter sports season.
High-risk sports such as wrestling and cheer were moved to the spring season, which will take place on April 26 – June 30. Indoor track was also moved to the fall 2 season, which will take place on February 22 – April 25.
Sharon High School Athletic Director Dr. Nicholas Schlierf says wrestling and cheer are not happening yet due to the high-risk definition of their sport because of the amount of intentional contact that occurs in practice and competition. “Moving them to the spring season gives more time for the Covid numbers to decrease, but also the option to consider hosting their practices and competitions outdoors,” Schlierf said.
He says the indoor track season was moved due to the college competition sites remaining closed through at least January 15 but most likely later preventing the athletes from true competition.
“It is our hope that sport-specific modifications will be put into place for football and cheer to make them able to play in Fall 2 and Spring,” said Schlierf. He says volleyball has already developed successful modifications and we will see them on the SHS court starting February 22.
Because some high-risk sports’ start date has been shifted to the Fall 2 season, a student-athlete who usually plays football and lacrosse will have to choose between the two sports for this upcoming spring season.
Each sport has its own specific list of safety precautions. “If you go to the MIAA COVID page, the very-detailed documents are listed by sport in the top left-hand corner of the page,” said Schlierf.
Most importantly, Schlierf says masks will be worn at all times during basketball practice and games by all players, coaches, referees, spectators, etc. “Mask breaks will only be allowed outdoors, so anyone needing one will exit the SHS gym and go outside for a mask break,” he added.
Swimmers can only take off their masks when swimming their event in the pool. For gymnastics, gymnasts are only allowed to remove their masks when competing a routine on equipment or the floor.
“The fall season was very successful with the MIAA protocols in place,” said Schlierf. He says almost all athletes had a great experience and are thankful to play even with masks and rule modifications. “They remember well what happened in the Spring of 2020 when all sports were canceled and all school was remote,” he added.
Schlierf says mandatory mask-wearing has proven to be very effective in mitigating the spread of the virus and schools meeting in hybrid, like Sharon, have shown successfully that they are not centers of virus spread. “We will watch carefully what does take place this winter season and always err on the side of caution,” he added.
He says the health and safety of the players, coaches, officials, and spectators is our primary concern because winter sports take place indoors which is different from the outdoor sports of the Fall.
Because some winter sports are not taking place this season, Schlierf says “hopefully the rest will be able to take place in the two remaining seasons as assigned by MIAA.”