Section VI postpones wrestling season; opts out of spring state championships

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 28 January 2021 at 1:50 pm

Story is updated with additional information from Section VI

Following concerns raised by the Western New York Region county health directors (which includes Niagara and Erie counties) the Section VI Executive Council today voted to postpone the high school wrestling season which will now run from May 10 to June 30.

In addition, the Executive Committee voted to have Section VI opt out of the state spring sports championships. It also added that the current policy of allowing no spectators will be reassesed in several weeks.

The concerns raised by the WNY Region county health directors about the possible spread of Covid-19 in wrestling matches is a sharp reversal from their decision made earlier in the week to allow the start of the High Risk Winter sports of basketball and wrestling as of February 1.

Wrestling will now join  the “Spring” sports season which already includes baseball, softball, tennis, track and lacrosse.

The basketball season is still scheduled to begin practices on February 1 with games expected to get underway the week of February 8.

The section’s press release stated: “Our Executive Committee met with representatives from all five counties and chose to follow the pleas of our health officials and the CDC, to pause our wrestling season, “Section President, Brett Banker said. “We never discussed canceling wrestling completely although that was an option. We know that a move to spring may cause conflicts with athletes and coaches, however we are thankful we had this alternative.”

“Wrestling moves to the revised spring season of May 10-June 30 along with baseball, softball, tennis, lacrosse and track. The Section voted to inform the state association that they will not participate in state play this spring.

 “As difficult as it was, by removing our teams from state competition in the spring, we can now extend our calendars and offer more contests for our athletes,” Banker continued. “We anticipate that with this move, our athletes will likely complete full seasons, which they lost last year.”

“The current winter season which will include basketball and ice hockey will begin on February 1 with Sectional Championships completed by March 27. Bowling, Rifle, Swimming and Skiing were allowed to start on January 4th. The state had already canceled state championships for Fall 2 and winter. The season that NYSPHSAA refers to as Fall 2 with football, volleyball, and cheerleading will now run March 22-May 15.

“For now, the Section is not allowing spectators to attend contests however according to Banker, “We are prepared to reassess where we are with infection rates and other data, the week of February 22. We certainly want families to be able to watch their athletes compete. But we need to offer districts the opportunity first to roll out protocols and gauge how successful they are.”