N-O swim start date nears; no word from Albany yet on basketball and wrestling

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 6 January 2021 at 3:10 pm

Delayed several times Section VI schools are scheduled to start practice for low-moderate risk winter sports in just over a week on January 18.

For Niagara-Orleans League schools that will involve boys and girls swimming.

With swim practice set to get underway on the 18th meets would begin early the following week and league athletic directors are expected to have a schedule of meets approved by the end of the week.

“It looks like it’s going to go,” said Medina Athletic Director Eric Valley.

Right now the league is planning on having “virtual” meets with the two competing teams each swimming in their own pool and the times being compared by computer program to determine individual event winners and the meet’s team winners.

However, two N-O schools – Akron and Albion – are looking to host regular meets.

“That is a possibility,” said Albion Athletic Director Adam Krenning .” Akron and Albion have both indicated they would be willing to host meets and to travel. Right now we are just awaiting approval by the superintendent so we can host meets and travel.”

The status of the winter season’s “High Risk” sports of basketball and wrestling though remains up in the air.

In mid December the New York State Public High School Athletic Association announced that no high risk sports can begin “until authorization is granted by state officials”. And to date there has been no announcement from Albany on granting such authorization.

That lack of an announcement so close to the January 18 practice start date certainly has the attention and the concern of local athletic directors.

It is a problem compounded by the fact that the so-called “Fall 2” season for the “High Risk” sports of football, volleyball and cheerleading, which did not get played last fall, is scheduled to begin on March 1.

“Things don’t look very good (for basketball and wrestling)” said Valley. “We’re hoping for the best but we’re really running out of a window of opportunity to get a winter sports season in. Just give us some answers.”

“It doesn’t look too promising,” said Roy-Hart Athletic Director John Grzymala.

“I’m optimistic the season will happen. I really am but we’ve really got to start on the 18th in order to have a winter season” said  Krenning. “The kids and the coaches are chomping at the bit to get going and there are plenty of things we can do to make it safe for the athletes. I am hoping we can get it in for the kids. It is important for them both physically and mentally.”

Word from Albany as to whether that “authorization” will or won’t be given will determine if there will be a basketball and wrestling season. One way or the other it is word that for local athletic directors, coaches and student athletes cannot come soon enough.