Low-, moderate-risk HS sports start Monday

In this Feb. 10, 2020 file photo, Niagara Falls High School bowler Carly Washcalus practices at Bowl-O-Drome.

Low- and moderate-risk sports in Section VI will start Monday as planned, Section VI Executive Director Mark DiFilippo announced Tuesday.

The Section VI Executive Committee met Tuesday and "re-confirmed their support to move forward with" the start of some winter sports despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Locally, that means bowling and swimming seasons can start practicing and competing next week. Rifle and downhill skiing will also open for schools with those programs. All four of those sports are classified as low- or moderate-risk by the New York State Department of Health.

Spectators will not be allowed at games "until further notice."


“We are excited to begin the winter season for the five low to moderate risk sports," Section VI President Brett Banker, athletic director of the Ken-Ton school district, said in a statement. “We are very excited for our athletes, coaches and families. Athletes across our region will be able to return to something that is so important to them."

Basketball, cheerleading, hockey and wrestling have been deemed high-risk and will not be able to start until approval is given by the office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo. On Dec. 16, Section VI cancelled the indoor track season due to the delayed start creating a lack of suitable facilities.

“We welcome and are ready to begin High Risk sports as soon as we receive approval from Albany,” Banker said. “Members of the Executive Committee are confident that member schools, athletic directors, coaches and athletic trainers can provide the same safe and nurturing experiences that we did in the highly successful fall season.”

Winter sports in Section VI were originally scheduled to open Nov. 30, but the start date was postponed three times due to the pandemic,  to Dec. 14, Jan. 4 and finally Jan. 18.

The New York State Public High School Athletic Association cancelled its winter championships on Dec. 11.


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