Tags Posts tagged with "Section XI"

Section XI

Rocky Point 2023-24 girls basketball team. Photo courtesy Rich Acritelli

By Rich Acritelli

Since 2001, there have been many fine girls basketball players that have suited up for the Rocky Point High School team. But there has been a playoff drought for the 23 years that has been broken through this year’s Lady Eagles squad. Longtime field hockey coach Katie Bittner, who coached the junior varsity basketball team in 2008-09, recently took over and the positive results have been extremely noticeable.

After defeating Smithtown West Feb. 2, the girls earned a playoff seed that saw Rocky Point ladies enthused about this major achievement. Bittner explained that this success originated from the “importance of playing defense, hustling and showing heart on a regular basis.” This formula has worked, as Bittner was pleased with her team’s ability to utilize its unyielding defensive strengths earlier in the season against Westhampton Beach. This opposition was averaging over 55 points a game at the time, but was limited to 43, and Rocky Point lost by only three points. This week, on Feb. 12, the Lady Eagles again played Westhampton Beach, which is one of the higher-ranking teams in the county, was leading at halftime 27-25 and lost a hotly-contested game 50-41.

The Rocky Point girls are led by the aggressive presence of McKenzie Moeller who is committed to play lacrosse at Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina. She has been a dominant point scorer who drives to the net and is a rebounder. Moeller scored 24 points against Smithtown West and enjoys the camaraderie of this group. The “comic relief” is senior Sarah May who was the team’s most valuable player as a junior and is a shooting guard who will dive for loose balls. Julia Koprowski is a point guard whose goal is to play basketball next fall in college. Rhiannon Donovan is a senior power forward who has also been a special player. She has found it has been immensely “gratifying” to be a part of a close-knit team that has performed well.

An all-state field hockey player and a lacrosse standout, Kylie Lamoureux has solidified her spot as one of the toughest female athletes in the school and as a determined leader on the basketball team. Her presence is felt playing defense, forcing turnovers and being a fiery player against the opposition. This junior, who will play lax at the University of Maryland, is a two-year starter and a shooting guard. Her good friend junior Fiona Vu, who will be playing lacrosse at Brown University, is a major three-sport athlete who provides key minutes off the bench as a guard and forward. Coming off the bench is senior Nicole Spadafina who is hoping to either attend Indiana University or Tulane. This guard brings the ball up the court and has hit some outside shots. Many of these girls have played together since they were children at the local church league and truly enjoy playing ball together.

The future looks promising with eighth grader Giuliana Tocci gaining valuable experience that will mold her leadership role. Sophomore Kaleigh Moeller is part of the youth movement that has helped push the Eagles toward making the playoffs. She is a forward who comes off the bench where she has played a tenacious defense and has gained many rebounds. 

Athletic director Jonathon Rufa is elated with the drive of this team to succeed this year and make the playoffs. Rufa identified these ladies as being a “hardworking, talented and coachable group of athletes, who are willing to do the little things to win,” adding, “The future of Rocky Point girls basketball looks bright with first-year coach Katie Bittner leading the way.” 

Rich Acritelli is a social studies teacher at Rocky Point High School, an adjunct professor of American history at Suffolk County Community College and curator of Suffolk County World War II and Military History Museum.

Port Jefferson’s Preston Biedenkapp battles Nate Spuhler @ 170lbs for the county championship. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

North Shore grapplers made a statement in the Suffolk County Division 2 wrestling championship at Center Moriches High School Friday night, Feb. 9, when Shoreham Wading River’s Chris Colon defeated Aidan Lee (124 lbs) in a 12-4 decision for the county championship yet again. Teammate Gavin Mangano easily won his match 15-0 against his Port Jeff opponent, Frank D’Elia, at 131 lbs. 

Mount Sinai’s Brayden Fahrbach pinned his Port Jeff challenger, Cade Delgado, in just 38 seconds at 138 lbs for the county title.

Port Jeff’s Chris Lotten defeated Matt Cucciniello of Mount Sinai to become county champion at 152 lbs with a 9-2 decision. At 170 lbs, it was Port Jeff’s Preston Biedenkapp besting his Shoreham-Wading River opponent, Nate Spuhler, with a 6-0 decision.

John Glenn was the top team (302 points) followed by Mount Sinai (250) and Port Jefferson (214), with Shoreham-Wading River (175) placed fifth.

Winning the Rick Herrmann Most Outstanding Wrestler award was Shoreham-Wading River’s Gavin Mangano, while teammate Chris Colon shared the Jack Mahoney Champion of Champions title with John Glenn’s Tommy Aiello.

By Steven Zaitz

The middle of January assuredly brings two things to Suffolk County – unbearably cold temperatures and the Section XI Winter Track League Championships on the Brentwood campus of Suffolk Community College.

From Friday night to Sunday evening, Suffolk Federal Credit Union Arena was packed to the rafters with athletes from over 50 high schools across the county on both the boys and girls sides.

In League II, Commack and Smithtown East both had standout performances in the arts and sciences of running, jumping, and throwing. They competed against the likes of the mighty Connetquot, who finished in the top spot for the boys and second for the girls, Bay Shore, who were among the top five overall for both boys and girls, North Babylon, whose girls team took first place in the league, and of course archenemy to both, the always-dangerous Northport.

The Commack girls finished in fourth place overall with many noteworthy performances. The 4×400 relay was the team’s crowning achievement by winning the event by more than five seconds. With a time of 4:20.75, the Lady Cougar foursome Alexandra Pulcini, Hailey Torres, Nicole Bransfield, and Kate Hearns bested second-place Connetquot, whose quartet ran a 4:25.82.

Junior Kathryn Vidulich was best in the triple jump, reaching 35 feet. Senior Sophia Toepfer was second in the long jump with a leap of 16”10’, besting her teammate Vidulich, who came in third, by only a quarter of an inch. Toepfer was third in the 300-meter dash and senior Nicole Bransfield was third in the 55-meter hurdles.

The Bulls of Smithtown East were led by freshmen Rayshelle Brown, who was second, ahead of Bransfield, in the 55-meter hurdles at 8.84 seconds and senior Sarah Wisnieski, who was second in the 1000-meters and fifth in the 1500. Brown broke the school record by .003, a record that stood for six years. Brooke Rosenberg and Annabelle Willie crossed the finish line almost simultaneously in the 600-meter run. Rosenberg’s time was 1:48.78 and Willie’s was 1:48.90, good for third and fourth respectively.

Competing on Sunday, the Commack Boys achieved second place overall, behind Connetquot. The Cougars saw a well-diversified showing from runners, jumpers, and throwers. 

Nicholas Vought, a senior, won the 300-meter dash with a blazing time of 36.51. Vought finished second to Northport star sprinter Vito LaRosa in the 55-meter dash with a 6.62. LaRosa clocked in at 6.50. Commack’s 4×800 relay team bested Northport with a time of 8:30.24, capturing first place. The quartet was made up of Alex Walsh, Dylan Manning, Aidan Piracci, and Sam Byrd. The anchorman Byrd, a senior, had a very busy day as he also placed second in the 3200 and fourth in the 1600. 

I have to give credit to my grandmother because she is an amazing cook, and she made a great dinner of pot roast and biscuits last night,” Byrd said. “Also, I took it pretty easy this week knowing that a lot of us were going to be doubling and tripling up, so I was ready to run. I was happy to win the [4×800] but I wish it was enough to catch Connetquot for the league title.”

Andrew Riggs finished in second place in the 55-meter hurdles for Commack, with a time of 8.12.

Kaden Jacques and Daniel Pagan both jumped to a height of 5’8” and were awarded third and fourth respectively, as Pagan snagged second in the long jump with a flight of 20-8. Anthony Pisciotta was fourth in shot put with a throw of 42-4.75.

The Smithtown East Bulls Braden McCormick jumped to glory, capturing first place in the high jump at 6’5”. It was the highest jump of the day by a full five inches and after clearing the bar, McCormick, joined by his teammates, set off a wild, fist-pumping celebration that rocked the arena. With this giant leap, McCormick qualifies for the New Balance Indoor Nationals in Boston later this year. 

“It felt great clearing six foot five,” said McCormick. “I never thought I’d be jumping this high since only last spring I was having trouble clearing five feet ten. I’ve been lifting a lot more this season and the coaches on this team have really helped me get to the next level.”

Elsewhere for the Bulls, Kaelen Sue-Kam-Ling was third in the long jump competition with a leap of 20-2.5. Sue-Kam-Ling and his three teammates Josh Bobadilla, Jason Triolo, and Nicholas Piccoli finished fourth in the 4×200-meter relay to round out the activities for the weekend in League II.

The Suffolk County championships are up next for these track stars, and those meets will be held over the first weekend in February at the same venue.

8565-Port Jeff junior Jenna Jacobs and her sister 8564-Alexa Jacob compete in the 300m dash at SCCC Feb 6. Bill Landon photo

by -
0 4058

By Steven Zaitz

Richard “Bull” Smith, who founded Smithtown over 350 years ago, never played quarterback. Nor could he run the pick and roll in basketball, turn a 6-4-3 double play in baseball or swim the 100-meter breaststroke.

However, his statue was smack in the middle of about 100 student-athletes, coaches and parents Friday, Sept. 18, as they gathered to protest the Section XI decision to suspend all high school sports due to the coronavirus until at least January 2021. They met right on the front lawn of Section XI headquarters on Main Street and Route 111 in Smithtown.

Groups representing Kings Park, East Islip, Northport, Commack, Ward Melville and Connetquot joined Smithtown residents, who began their protest at the school district’s administration earlier on New York Avenue, and held up signs imploring the decision makers to rethink this delay. Many of these devoted and impassioned protesters were at the same location, doing the same thing Tuesday, Sept. 15.

One of these protesters was Ray Zuppa, an attorney from Smithtown, who feels that high school athletic facilities are far less dangerous than other places that kids might go. He is also a strong believer that not having the chance to play sports is devastating to the youngsters’ development.

“I believe Section XI has let the kids down,” Zuppa said later during a phone interview. “I realize it is a serious virus, but the science supports that it’s difficult to catch outside and when wearing a mask.”

Zuppa’s son, Isaiah Zuppa, is the starting quarterback of the Smithtown West Bulls and was one of the highest-rated passers in Suffolk County in 2019. He was also in attendance at the protest.

“Isaiah is a shell of himself,” the father said. “It’s not just about the games, but all these kids are missing the camaraderie, the discipline, team dinners and the bonding — and you know what, the parents are missing it too. Sports is essential to a lot of families.”

Zuppa coached his son for many years in the Suffolk County Police Athletic League, and when the father was asked if he took solace in the plans to have football season in March, he was skeptical. 

“I think this March thing is just a way to kick the can down the road,” he said.  “I don’t think it’s really going to happen, and this is just a way for them to bide their time.”

The masked protesters were rewarded by the encouragement of honking car horns, and they created a party-like atmosphere as they tossed footballs, sang team fight songs and ran through tumbling routines at the foot of Smith’s statue. However, Tom Combs, executive director of Section XI, and the main target of the protesters’ ire, did not address the crowd or make an appearance from his nearby office.

“While this was a difficult decision, we feel it was the best move for the health and safety of everyone involved,” Combs said in a Sept. 11 statement on the Section XI website. “We still have a lot of hard work ahead in planning and executing on the three seasons across six months in 2021, but we look forward to the challenge and collaboration with our member schools and providing an impactful experience for our student-athletes and coaches.”

Despite Combs’ nonappearance, Zuppa still thinks these public showings are beneficial.

“They know we’re out here,” he said. “They know how we feel.”

by -
0 2945

If anything, high school athletes know how to lead a chant. Though instead of doing it on the field to rally their team, this time their barking voices were used to call them back to the field.

Around 60 Comsewogue athletes and their parents stood at the corner of routes 112 and 347 Sept. 18 rallying for support in demanding that Section XI, which runs Suffolk County’s scholastic sports, allows sports to start their seasons in September. 

Cole Blatter, a junior on Comsewogue’s football and wrestling teams, said despite Section XI’s promise that the new seasons for sports could start in January, there’s really no way to be sure, especially because they felt the rug was pulled out from under them already.

Sports “really adds structure to my day — I go to school and then I go to football,” he said.

For his teammates, many of them seniors, the Comsewogue athlete said he could not even well describe how upset they are.

“It’s their last season — some are never going to play football again, some of them are never going to wrestle again, some will never play lacrosse again,” Blatter said. “All of that stuff that made them happy, it’s just been taken away from them.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) gave localities the option to play certain sports deemed low risk Aug. 24, specifically excluding sports like football and volleyball because of their use of shared equipment. Though Section XI originally said it would host fall seasons for all other sports, the entity and its athletic council reversed course Sept. 11 and said it would push all sports into truncated seasons starting Jan. 4. 

The Comsewogue group was part of a large protest earlier that same day outside the Section XI building in Smithtown, demanding their voices and concerns be heard.

Parents of athletes who came to the corner of Route 112 were just as upset about the situation as their children. 

“It’s their senior year, they already lost their junior season, so to have everything be combined next spring, and we still don’t know what the [infection rate] in January is going to be — we don’t know if this promise of January is even going to happen,” Danielle Deacy said. “You’re taking so much away from these kids … scholarships, recruitment. This is such a critical time for a lot of these kids that they’ve been playing since they were 5 years old.”

Deacy, the mother of Jake, a senior at Comsewogue High School, said with the numbers being what they are, and how COVID-19 does not impact young people as much as it does older groups, “the percentage of risk compared to what they’re losing is not worth it.”

When Section XI made its decision, it said in a statement to its website Sept. 11 that it was based on the potential for increased positive cases of COVID-19, reduced spectators, a lack of locker room and facility use, increased costs related to security and transportation, and the general well-being of athletes, parents, coaches and other staff.

Still, at least one member of the Comsewogue board of education wrote a letter in favor of those protesting, namely board president John Swenning. He said in a letter read out to the assembled parents and athletes that the district has had conversations with Section XI, adding that if schools remain mostly COVID-free, then athletes should be able to play before the expected Jan. 4 start date.

“Section XI acknowledged we should continue to have an open discussion with our superintendents and athletic directors to monitor the status of the health and well-being of our students,” Swenning wrote in his letter.

But for the students, who have already missed what was planned to be the original sport start date Sept. 21, every day that goes by is another loss.

“We want to play, we want the chance to have our seasons here,” Jake Deacy said. “Our spring seasons were cut short, we can’t let that happen again.” 

Student-athletes and parents from across Suffolk County showed up at the Section XI offices Sept. 15 to protest the council’s decision to push fall sports into next year. Photo by Rita J. Egan

North Shore students say they want to play.

Student-athletes and parents from across Suffolk County showed up at the Section XI offices Sept. 15 to protest the council’s decision to push fall sports into next year. Photo by Rita J. Egan

More than a hundred young athletes and their parents rallied in front of 180 E. Main St. in Smithtown Sept. 15. The building houses the offices of Section XI, which manages Suffolk County high school sports.

Last week the athletic council voted to postpone the fall sports season and condense all three seasons to run from January through June next year. The Nassau County Council of School Superintendents had already decided to postpone sports, both councils citing the potential for increased positive cases of COVID-19 as well as the costs associated with meeting coronavirus restrictions at games. The decision is contrary to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) August announcement stating schools could allow certain sports to practice and compete starting in September, such as cross country, track and soccer, which have been deemed low to medium risk. Sports that were originally excluded from a fall start included football and volleyball.

The Sept. 15 rally was organized by field hockey players Carolena Purpura, a 12th-grader at Harborfields High School, and Jenna Halpin, a high school senior from Locust Valley High School. Halpin started the Let Them Play social media campaign. The two spoke at the event along with state Assemblyman Mike Fitzpatrick (R-St. James).

Halpin said students were excited after Cuomo’s August announcement.

“We texted our teammates, we dusted off our gear and got ready to play, something we were waiting five months to do,” Halpin said.

Student-athletes and parents from across Suffolk County showed up at the Section XI offices Sept. 15 to protest the council’s decision to push fall sports into next year. Photo by Rita J. Egan

Purpura said she wonders why surrounding states have figured out how school sports can continue during the pandemic but not Long Island. She added how playing sports is good for mental health, serving as an outlet for pent-up energy or emotions. She said many times during a bad day at school she has imagined being on the field, and it’s a way for many to express themselves like others may do with music and art.

“There’s more to sports than competition, championships and making friends,” she said. “It goes way deeper than that and serves a greater purpose.”

Fitzpatrick said Cuomo and other state officials have stated it’s important to follow the science.

“The science has shown that we can do sports and other activities safely,” Fitzpatrick said, adding that practices such as social distancing, wearing masks and other safety protocols can be incorporated so students can play sports like they are doing in other states.

Fitzpatrick, a former student basketball player, encouraged the attendees to contact their elected officials on the state, county and town levels to put pressure on Section XI to let them play.

Athletes from several school districts including Miller Place, Comsewogue, Three Village, Smithtown, Hauppauge, Central Islip and more were on hand.

Student-athletes and parents from across Suffolk County showed up at the Section XI offices Sept. 15 to protest the council’s decision to push fall sports into next year. Photo by Rita J. Egan

Hauppauge’s Jamie Devine, a 12th-grader who plays soccer and basketball, said if other states are able to practice sports and local students can attend classes in person, she doesn’t understand why Long Islanders can’t participate in sports, especially soccer which is played outside. The high school senior said she played in basketball tournaments in Pennsylvania this summer where everyone wore masks to the games, and everyone was fine.

“Not being able to play is really upsetting to me, because I’ve worked hard since I was little and to never get to play again upsets me,” she said.

Ward Melville cross country team members Katelyn Giordano, Alexis Bell and Julia Bell said they were training all summer. Finding out they couldn’t compete this fall, they said, was disappointing, especially when last season was cut short and they weren’t able to go to winter nationals or compete in the spring.

Miller Place High School senior Jonathan Flannery, who plays football, wrestling and lacrosse, said he feels robbed.

“Everyone has been dreaming of their senior year of football since we were [little], and it just feels so abrupt, and it’s just not right,” he said. “I’ll come back in the middle of the summer just to play a season. I don’t care. I didn’t play my last game yet.”

Shoreham-Wading River senior mid-fielder Elizabeth Shields out maneuvers a defender at home against John Glenn. The SWR Wildcats would win their first title crown last year, but won't have another chance to play until January, 2021. File photo by Bill Landon

In a reversal from a decision made just a few weeks ago, Section XI, which manages Suffolk County high school sports, announced it would be delaying the start of all sports until Jan. 4, 2021. 

The decision, made after a Section XI athletic council vote this week, postpones the fall season and condenses all three seasons to run from January through June. In a post announcing the decision, Section XI said it will run three complete seasons for the varsity, junior varsity and modified levels. Each season will culminate in a championship event.

“While this was a difficult decision, we feel it was the best move for the health and safety of everyone involved,” said Section XI Executive Director Tom Combs in a statement to its website. “We still have a lot of hard work ahead in planning and executing on the three seasons across six months in 2021, but we look forward to the challenge and collaboration with our member schools and providing an impactful experience for our student-athletes and coaches.”

The decision was made based on what Section XI’s Athletic Council, County Athletic Directors, Safety Committee and Suffolk County Executive Board said was “the potential for increased positive cases of COVID-19, the health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches, officials and staff members, a reduced number of spectators, a lack of locker room and facility use, increased costs in transportation and security for school districts and equity among all school districts.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced he was allowing schools to certain sports deemed low to medium risk to start in September. Sports that were originally excluded from a fall start included football and volleyball, though cross country, track, or soccer would have been given the green light. Section XI originally said it would start with those lower-risk sports Sept. 21.

Nassau County school officials and Section VIII, which handles Nassau high school sports, have already made the decision this week to postpone all sports until the start of 2021. Some Nassau sports players have reportedly already protested having their seasons postponed. One school district, Massapequa, has already announced it is suing Section VIII to get sports back for Fall.

The seasons will run as follows:

Varsity and JV

  • Season 1 (Winter), Jan. 4 – Feb. 27
  • Season 2 (Fall), March 1 – May 1
  • Season 3 (Spring), April 26- June 19

Modified sports

  • Season 1 (Winter), Jan. 4 – Feb. 6
  • Season 2 (Late Winter), Feb. 8 – March 20
  • Season 3 (Fall), March 22 – May 8
  • Season 4 (Spring), May 10 – June 12


Junior attack Xavier Arline drives to the cage for the Wildcats in the Suffolk Class C county final against Mount Sinai last year. With spring season cancelled, there will be no chance for a rematch. File photo by Bill Landon

High School seniors are normally under a lot of pressure come their last year of classes. It’s a time where students have to be thinking about where they want to go after graduation, what they want to do, all mixed in with a sense of finality to their grade school careers. For students involved in sports, it means the last season and the last chance they will have to take their team to county championships or maybe even states. 

Ward Melville second baseman Matt Maurer makes the scoop in a League I matchup against Central Islip last year. The team was hoping for even better this year, before the spring season was cancelled. File photo by Bill Landon

Then on April 22, Section XI made the announcement cancelling the spring sports season.

“After much discussion and consideration, the Athletic Council of Suffolk County has voted unanimously to cancel the spring sports season for 2020 at all levels,” Tom Combs, the Section XI executive director wrote in a statement. “The decision was not an easy one to make, however in what the world is experiencing at this time, it is the most prudent decision to make.”

With the cancellation of the spring sports season due to the ongoing pandemic, those same students now see any hopes of making it to playoffs dashed. Some teams, like the Ward Melville baseball team, might have been looking at their best season yet after making it to Suffolk County championships last year.

“Though we lost in the Suffolk County championship, the juniors were a big reason why they got there in the first place,” said Ward Melville baseball coach Lou Petrucci. “When we heard the news I talked to all the captains, and we talked to the seniors and juniors. They’re upset, but the spin we have to put on it is every time you play a baseball team you have to play it like it’s your last.”

Scott Reh, the Mount Sinai director of athletics, echoed the sentiment that the decision is going to most impact seniors, who he said the decision was “totally out of their control.” Though he and other athletic directors understood why it was done.

“At the end of the day, it’s very important because people are losing their lives, their jobs and the list goes on and on, “ Reh said. 

Mount Sinai girls lacrosse head coach Al Bertolone said his team has been “training every day since school closed,” and that he hosts video meetings with the team and individual groups daily. 

Though the news was hard, Bertolone said they had already participated in a car parade that ran past Mather and St Charles hospitals, which included the entire varsity team, parents, a fire truck, local police and some alumni as well.

“As far as we are concerned the games might have been canceled but our team is still going strong,” he said.

They are planning another car parade for Senior Day, May 14. 

Charles Delargey, the director of PE, health and athletics at the Rocky Point school district, said the girls lacrosse team hosted a senior parade for their 10 seniors last Saturday, and the boys lacrosse has plans to do something similar this weekend. 

Mount Sinai sophomore, then freshman Mackenzie Celauro slides home in game last year. File photo by Bill Landon

At 8:20 (20:20 military time) on Friday, May 1, districts will be turning on the lights and score board of their school football fields. The event is supposed to celebrate the sports teams in their 2020 season, with several schools planning live streams including comments from coaches.

In addition to several videos that coaches and students have put together, homes throughout the Shoreham-Wading River Central School District are displaying ‘Home of a Wildcat Senior 2020’ lawn signs to share in the school spirit. The district is also promoting the NYSPHSAA Mental Health Awareness Week from May 4-8 with social media messages. Plans are also in progress to honor all athletes at the annual athletic awards event which will be held virtually in the coming weeks. 

“Our coaches are in contact with our athletes to help to maintain optimistic attitudes and keep physically active during this time,” said SWR Director of Physical Education, Health, Athletics and Nurses Mark Passamonte.

School sports directors have been doing their best to keep spirits high. Adam Sherrard, the Port Jefferson School District athletic director, shared a video to his Twitter showcasing baseball players practicing, intercutting the video so it seemed the players were tossing the ball to each other.

Port Jeff is planning to host its regular sports ceremonies, including pictures of seniors in their uniforms in May and the signing ceremonies in June, but this time having to bring up each player individually for photos.

Indeed, practicing at home has become the new norm. Players have taken videos and pictures of themselves in their workouts and practices and posted such things to their coaches and teammates in phone messages and online.

Still, many students mourn the loss of their lost season — for some their last. As the bearer of bad news, coaches have done their best to offer consolation and hope for the future.

Matt DeVincenzo, the athletic director at Comsewogue School District, helped craft a video that was released Friday, April 24, on the district’s Facebook going through all the spring sports teams and specifically mentioning the graduating players, thanking them for all their hard work.

“Everyone’s pretty devastated,” DeVincenzo said. “Everyone saw the writing on the wall, and all the kids are affected, but our hearts really go out to the senior class. Unfortunately, they were robbed of last season in high school.” 

Port Jefferson senior Aidan Kaminski, then a junior, looks for an open lane last year during the Class D county final. He will not be able to finish his final senior season. File photo by Bill Landon

The unanimous decision from the Section XI board was a tough one, DeVincenzo said, but all acknowledged the impossibility of hosting sports during the ongoing pandemic.

But beyond the spring season, many still question what will happen in the summer, fall and winter.  All agree it’s still too early to tell.

For students participating in college sports, the National College Athletic Association said students graduating in spring will be eligible for collegiate scholarships as long as they still meet the course number requirements and show a 2.3 or higher GPA in those courses. The NCAA’s evaluations will not look at separate reviews of spring or summer distance learning during COVID-19 closures.

The question whether the coronavirus will impact sports in summer and fall is still up in the air, but with coaches not even aware if students will be back in school by the end of May, that question is leaning heavy on the minds of school athletics. Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said April 24 he would later be announcing whether schools would remain closed, but as of press time has not yet made the decision. 

Delargey said when the news arrived last week, students were of course disappointed. On the other end, it was also a showcase of how students can show compassion.

“On a call with the softball team where the coach broke the news, after everyone spoke, one of our youngest kids on the team said to the seniors, ‘just want to let you know what an inspiration you’ve been to me.’” he said. “For a young kid to do that that’s amazing says what sports is all about.”

The Northport Tigers hit the ground running against Westhampton for the overall Section XI title game. The team was leading from the start to finish, beating the Hurricanes 72-45 March 5 at Ward Melville High School.

Senior Danielle Pavinelli led the way for the Tigers with three triples, four from the floor and a pair of free throws for a team high 19 points. Kerry Dennin, a senior, followed with 13 as did sophomore Sophia Yearwood. Teammate Sophia Bica netted 11 and senior Kelly McLaughlin banked 10.

Northport retakes the court for the Class AA Long Island championship round to take on the Nassau County champion at St. Joseph’s College March 15. Tickets are $10.00 at the door or $8.00 on line here: https://gofan.co/app/school/NYSPHSAAXI

Game time is 4:00pm.