Upon learning that “high-risk” sports would start Feb. 1, coaches across Section I expressed their excitement and gratitude, and began preparing for the season.
“Our players and coaches were ecstatic upon hearing the news,” Irvington boys’ basketball head coach David Boykin said. “Once we get the official clearance from our local health department, we will get started right away with practicing six days a week to get ready for our games. We can’t wait!”
Wrestling, basketball, and ice hockey were the “high-risk” winter sports given the green light by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Jan. 22. Over the next seven days, county executives throughout the Hudson Valley conferred with local health departments officials to give school districts the OK to commence. Westchester County Executive George Latimer gave his final approval on Jan. 30.
Wrestling may be the toughest to pull off due to the constant contact involved in the sport.
Irvington girls’ basketball head coach Gina Maher was excited, but knows that all involved with the “high-risk” sports need to follow the guidelines and protocol.
“The players can’t wait to get back in the game,” Maher said. “We are also extremely conscious of the consequences that will occur if we let down our guard and are not diligent in following the guidelines set by the NYSPHSAA, the county Health Department, and Section I.”
She added, “The girls are determined to do all they can to insure a season. We know that this must be done both on and off the court.”
Dobbs Ferry girls’ basketball head coach Stephanie Mills echoed Maher’s sentiments.
“I know we are all cautiously optimistic,” Mills said. “These girls have had so much disappointment and I think we just want to be on the court before we actually believe it. However, I know deep down they are all thrilled, especially my four seniors, who were looking to make a run this year.”
She continued, “From here, we move quickly. Get everyone cleared, go over safety protocols, and then we start getting in shape. A lot of girls have been working out, but definitely not in basketball game shape. I think this year, we focus on running a few sets well and really just competing on defense.”
Mills added, “At this point, the girls are so happy to be together and on the court, I think that is really all that matters. They have all handled this pandemic with such dignity and grace and are just so happy to have some positive news.”
Ardsley boys’ basketball head coach Sean Cappiello was also thinking about the seniors on his team.
“Obviously, we are excited about the news. I’m very happy for and proud of the kids,” Cappiello said. “They stayed positive throughout the process. I’m glad the seniors will get a season. They, in particular, deserve it.”
He continued, “We know it’s not going to be a ‘normal’ season, but that’s OK. We’re happy to have a chance to play and compete and hopefully the return of sports can start the transition back to more normal times.”
Cappiello added, “It’s a big responsibility and a lot for us to do in order to make it work, but I know my kids are up to it. They’re a great group. And our goals remain the same — compete at all times.”
Similarly, Ardsley girls’ head coach Nick Resavy said his team was upbeat and ready to go.
“We were really excited to know that we got our season back,” he said. “We are really determined to get back to work and try our best to get as far as we can this year. From here, we plan on getting to the gym and working on our game as much as we can. We want to get better and grow as a team. We can’t wait for the season to start again.”