On Aug. 24, Governor Cuomo announced that low-risk sports would be able to be played in high schools throughout the state, beginning Sept. 21. However, the Superintendent’s Board of Section VIII, which represents most of Nassau County, decided to delay all sports seasons until the beginning of 2021.
At the time, Port Washington Athletic Director Stephanie Joannon explained, “The whole rationale of delaying the season is to see the data on infection rates in our school, to see if schools can remain open, and then we have to get guidance from the NYSED on how we can safely have sports.”
A few months into the school year, despite multiple COVID-19 cases and remote school days, the infection rates within our district were considered low enough to move forward with sports, starting with a winter season on Jan. 4.
One of Schreiber High School’s sports this year is bowling, both boys and girls. Tryouts began when school returned after winter break, but the team faced a major setback after a week of practices were cancelled due to many positive COVID cases in the district. Despite losing this key week of practices before matches would begin, both bowling squads came out strong, winning their first matches of the year. The boys’ and girls’ teams both went undefeated in their first week, with a stellar performance from Senior David Weiner, who bowled a 262 during Jan. 21 match. They hope to ride this early success throughout the winter, hopefully culminating in a conference title.
Another sport at Schreiber that kicked off their season with a win was the swim team. Normally, Port Washington and Roslyn combine to form the swim team, but this year, Roslyn won’t be swimming. Practices started indoors at the Schreiber gym before they were able to move into pools. The athletes were distanced and masked while practicing their form and conditioning. Weeks later, they had just one more day to prepare after a one-week hiatus from practice. Their first meet of the season was on Wednesday, Jan. 20, against Jericho High School. Schreiber would win in a close one, with the score being 93-90. On Jan 22, they were back in the pool again, this time against Plainview. Their record would improve to 2-0, with a final score of 57-44.
Winter Track and Field also started their competitive season on Jan. 21. After years of success, they hoped to continue their strong track record in this shortened season. For them, this season will be especially strange, as all of their meets will be held virtually. Coaches will record scores from each event, and they will be compared alongside the scores of other teams, who participated from their home schools as well. Their scores haven’t fully been updated yet, but the team looks promising as they continue the season.
The final sport to kick off is gymnastics. Although some parts of competitive team gymnastics are not yet allowed, the team is still preparing for other events. Their first meet was also virtual, on Jan. 23, against Wantagh. It was held indoors at the gym of Sousa Elementary School, and it was live-streamed, as no spectators are allowed at any matches yet. They easily won, with a score of 150-93.1.
Now, you may be wondering, what about other winter sports, like basketball, wrestling and volleyball? These sports are all on the “high risk” list, and therefore could not start with the rest of Schreiber’s teams. However, good news was delivered this week. Governor Cuomo announced that these higher-risk sports would be able to begin on Feb 1, as long as certain guidelines are followed and school infection rates remain low. Nassau County will still have to approve this decision, but it seems likely they will. As of publication, Schreiber has announced that they will begin these sports on Feb. 1. Nassau County Executive Laura Curran approved of Cuomo’s decision, and said that she wants Nassau County’s Health Department to work with schools to get these high-risk sports up and running safely. With school sports kicking off and more to come, Port Washington’s student-athletes have plenty to look forward to throughout the rest of the school year.