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CHSAA cancels spring state championships

St. Anthony's players celebrate after defeating Molloy in

St. Anthony's players celebrate after defeating Molloy in the CHSAA state final at St. John's on May 28, 2019. Credit: Errol Anderson

The Catholic High School Athletic Association has canceled all state championship tournaments for spring sports but would allow schools to practice and compete through June 30, said Our Lady of Mercy athletic director Karen Andreone who represents the Diocese of Rockville Centre on the state council.

“We could have some semblance of a season and even some sort of a [Diocesan] championship, but it’s not the highest priority as we look to a possible spring season,” Andreone said Tuesday. “We want those, but more important we want the student-athletes to finish their school year with a sense of normalcy.”

On Thursday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo extended the stay at home order until May 15. Students would have to return to schools before spring sports could resume. Once students return, the principal at each of Long Island’s Catholic schools would decide whether to field athletic teams for the spring season.

“Principals at each school will have final say,” Andreone said. “We typically finish the sports season in early- to mid-June because of Regents [exams]. Because there are no Regents this year, it’s possible for us to play through June.”

The state Federation championships also have been cancelled, clearing the way for sectional play through the end of June.

The Catholic League requires 10 practices for baseball and six for every other sport before game competition can begin. The CHSAA has just nine Long Island schools, allowing for some flexibility. After the required practices, there could be enough days – with baseball and softball teams permitted to play doubleheaders and golf and track allowed to stage multi-team matches and meets – to have a modified regular season and Diocesan championship tournaments.

“We are looking at several scenarios based on different days that schools could re-open,” said St. John the Baptist athletic director Ralph Dalton, who oversees boys sports. “We’d love to have a modified season and even a championship [tournament], but more than that we just hope that teams can be back together competing. We want the school year to end with . . . a sense of closure.”

Dalton said with a return date in May, “I am confident we can put something together” for some sort of a spring sports season. He added that if schools re-open on a date in June, it will be much more difficult to get a spring sports season started.

Some number of Catholic schools are compensating their spring sports coaches; they have been meeting with their teams regularly over platforms such as Zoom.

“We are in communication with our teams and we have training things that they can do on their own,” said Morgan O’Connor, AD and varsity girls lacrosse coach at Sacred Heart Academy. “Even in these circumstances there is an expectation for [maintaining] fitness and practice.”

O’Connor would like to see schools re-open and get her team back on the field, regardless of whether a season or championship tournament can be staged. “I care most about kids practicing and learning and getting something out of this,” she said. “If we can get to competition all the better.”

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