NYSPHSAA, Section VI cancel spring championships

James Neiss/staff photographerIn this May 5, 2016 file photo, Niagara Falls' Angela Gabriele slides in safely to third base during a game against Lockport at the NFHS Athletic Complex.

The high school spring sports season took another big hit this week.

The two major governing bodies for local public schools, the New York State Public High School Athletic Association and Section VI, cancelled their spring championships Monday, officially ending any hope of an abbreviated, but typical slate of regular season games followed by sectionals and states.

NYSPHSAA made its announcement first, cancelling all state-level competition for boys and girls track and field, boys and girls lacrosse, boys tennis, softball, baseball and golf.

“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 in a statement. “Canceling the remaining winter state championships in late March was challenging and the cancelation of our spring state championships today is equally disappointing.”

Dr. Robert Zayas, NYSPHSAA executive director added: “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.”

Section VI made an announcement soon after, following suit by cancelling its championships.

NYSPHSAA and the section did leave the door open for individual leagues to attempt to put together "some form of a regular season," according to an email sent by Section VI to local media outlets and and high school leagues.

Individual leagues can stage whatever sort of varsity regular season or championships they see fit if students return to schools by June 1. Junior varsity and modified sports are completely cancelled.

The Niagara Frontier League, Niagara-Orleans League and Erie County Interscholastic Conference, to which our area high schools belong, are still holding out hope of hosting some sort of competition before the year is up, according to local athletic directors.

If schools are not in session by June 1, all varsity sports will be cancelled.

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