Coaches welcome State Health Dept. decision to allow basketball, wrestling seasons to begin

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 23 January 2021 at 9:00 am

It’s the news they had been hoping to hear for the past two months and Friday afternoon area basketball and wrestling coaches were thrilled to hear that the state Health Department had approved the start of the season for High Risk winter sports of basketball and wrestling on February 1 pending final approval by local county health departments.

“Right now I am the happiest guy on earth” said Lyndonville Athletic Director and co-wrestling coach Jim Zeliff. “All we have been waiting for is the opportunity and now it looks like we have that opportunity and we’ll make it work. We’re looking at a condensed season but it’s important for the kids to get something in. “I’m really excited. I’m ready to go.”

“This is awesome for the kids,” said Albion Athletic Director Adam Krenning. “I think it is the right decision for our student-athletes. It will be tight getting the winter season in and then the Fall 2 and spring seasons but it is doable. This is all for our student-athletes.”

“I’m surprised and was not expecting it,” said Medina boys varsity basketball Coach Tom Forestel of Friday’s announcement.  “I love the game and I want the kids to be able to play. I do have some reservations but I trust the health department and if we can do it safely then sign me up.”

“I’m definitely excited,” said Roy-Hart boys varsity basketball Coach Joe Pawlak. “I know there will be some guidelines but it will be great to get the kids together and in the gym. Hopefully we can move forward and get at least the league season in. It’s great news for the kids. Everybody is excited and ready to go.”

Right now practice for basketball and wrestling is slated to begin on February 1 pending that final OK from the county Health Department and practice for the postponed Fall 2 high risk sports of football, volleyball land competitive cheerleading is then slated to get underway on March 1.

Friday evening the New York State Public High School Athletic Association announced that this coming Monday  it “will release an updated Return to Interscholastic Athletics resource document for winter sports and Fall Season II.” 

In the release NYSPHSAAA Executive Director Robert Zayas stated “We are extremely thankful to Governor Cuomo and the New York State Department of Health for providing authorization for all sports to begin. I am thrilled our association’s member schools will be able to provide over two hundred thousand students with valuable and beneficial participation experiences. Today is certainly a great day for the students of New York State.”

Also Friday the Orleans and Genesee County Health Department announced that the Finger Lakes Region will likewise be drafting additional guidance next week in conjunction with area school districts ” to insure a consistent, regional approach.”