Section III cancels spring state championships

In this 2016 photo, Corey Stevens of the Oswego varsity golf team watches his tee shot at Oswego Country Club. Spring sports championships have been cancelled for Section III, officials announced Monday.

LATHAM — The potential high school spring sports season was dealt another blow on Monday.

The New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) announced the cancellation of the 2020 spring state-championship events.

The impacted events are boys and girls track and field, boys tennis, softball, baseball, boys and girls golf, and boys and girls lacrosse.

State-championship events had been scheduled from June 4-13.

“Unfortunately, with the continued impact of the COVID-19 crisis, hosting the spring 2020 state championships is no longer feasible (time factor, facility and venue availability, etc.),” Paul Harrica, NYSPHSAA’s president, said Monday in a statement. “Canceling the remaining winter state championships in late March was challenging, and the cancellation of our spring state championships today is equally disappointing.”

Dr. Robert Zayas, NYSPHSAA executive director said, “Today’s decision is difficult for the membership of NYSPHSAA. We certainly sympathize with the students, coaches and their school communities, especially the graduating seniors.”

“I feel really bad for the kids to lose out on the opportunity of being able to go to states,” said Fulton Athletic Director Chris Ells.

The NYSPHSAA will continue to rely upon information from the New York State Department of Health, local health departments, and the governor’s office for information and guidance on COVID-19 and its impact upon the spring regular season.  

As of Monday, the spring regular season remained on hold for nine of the 11 sections in the state.

On April 21, Section VIII and Section XI (Long Island) officially canceled all spring events. Individual sections have the authority to decide whether to hold regular-season contests.

For student-athletes to return to athletic participation this spring, schools need to be reopened by the governor, the statement said, adding that the date students can return to school will play a significant role in the possibility of a spring sports regular season.

Governor Cuomo has ordered schools closed until at least May 15 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

John Rathbun, executive director of Section III, said Monday’s announcement by the NYSPHSAA was likely prompted by the fact that so much of the season has already been wiped out by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I wasn’t surprised considering the number of days remaining in a possible school year,” Rathbun said.

As for a possible Section III spring sports season, he said, “We are still in a holding pattern and will follow the governor’s PAUSE guidelines.”

Ells said he is hoping for the best.

“I’m a very optimistic person. I’m still hoping we’ll get some sort of a spring season in,” Ells said.

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