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Continued Spread Of Coronavirus Pandemic Forces Final Decision

By Rich Thomaselli
HVSR Staff

Two weeks after the New York State Public High School Athletic Association “postponed indefinitely” the remaining winter championships, the state made it official on Monday.

Boys and girls basketball, bowling and ice hockey have all been canceled.

“It is with great disappointment that we make the decision to cancel the remaining winter championship events,” Dr. Robert Zayas, NYSPHSAA Executive Director, said in a statement. “Our association’s focus is to benefit students through participation in interscholastic athletics and unfortunately this rapidly developing situation has prevented our association from providing a quality championship experience.  We certainly sympathize for the students who are being impacted by this crisis but at this time they deserve honesty from the leadership of our association.”

The state said factors that played a role in the decision include but are not limited to: the evolving COVID-19 public threat, CDC mass gathering recommendations, Governor Cuomo’s declaration of a state emergency, President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency, input from the 11 Sections and extended school closures.

The decision officially ends the season for the Putnam Valley and Millbrook girls basketball teams, both of which had advanced out of their respective sectional championships and into the state quarterfinals before the state put the tournaments on hold.


“We knew that it was going to be a hard decision and considering the fact that they canceled every other major and collegiate sports league I had a feeling it wasn’t going to go on,” said Millbrook star Erin Fox, who is off to Marist College to play for the Red Foxes in the fall. “As a player and senior it is disappointing but I understand why they had to do it. During this time of confusion and crisis it’s the better option to keep everyone safe and healthy.”

Putnam Valley standout Eva DeChent, who will return next year to lead the Tigers, said she spoke with her teammates as soon as they got the official word.

“We were all saddened. I especially feel bad for our seniors; they lost the opportunity to play for the state championship. At least I have three more shots at getting there,” DeChent said. “It is the right decision to keep everyone safe but we are all heartbroken. I also feel really bad for Coach (Kristi) Dini. She has worked really hard to put us in a position to win. As long as we continue to work we have a shot to be right there again next year.

The NYSPHSAA said plans are being developed to honor and formally recognize the students and teams who qualified to participate in these championship events.

“This is one of the most difficult decisions the Officers of the NYSPHSAA have ever had to make,” said Paul Harrica, President of NYSPHSAA.  “It has been determined it is not feasible for the Winter State Championships to be hosted in a safe and beneficial manner for the participating student-athletes and their teams in the near future.  The health and safety of the students we serve will always be our top priority.”

With school districts closed for an extended period of time, Sections and schools are individually determining the Spring sport start dates and practice parameters that best meet the needs of the students they represent.

The status of the NYSPHSAA Spring State Championships will be determined on or prior to Monday, April 27.




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