November 26, 2021

State postpones winter tourney

Coronavirus Impact

Photo provided by New York State Public High School Athletic Association

It was something you felt was coming, but really hoped would not.

The New York State Public High School Athletic Association announced Thursday afternoon that all winter championships were postponed indefinitely.

Here’s the statement released by the NYSPHSAA:

The NYSPHSAA winter regional and state championships will be postponed indefinitely. It is certainly understood that postponing the remaining winter state championships is disappointing, however the opportunity to participate in a NYSPHSAA championship event does not outweigh our responsibility and obligation to ensure students participate in a healthy and safe environment.

The impacted events include the NYSPHSAA Ice Hockey, Bowling, Boys and Girls Basketball Regional and State Championships.

NYSPHSAA Executive Director Dr. Robert Zayas said, “It was my goal to complete the winter championships on schedule. It has become increasingly more difficult to host these championship events with the number of challenges that have been presented. I also have concerns as the Executive Director of NYSPHSAA and a parent, that students will be participating in an event under circumstances that are not conducive to a quality and beneficial participation experience.”

As information becomes available, NYSPHSAA will provide updates.

The announcement by New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo may have led to this statement after Zayas said things would continue to be monitored Wednesday. Obviously, things definitely changed when nearly all professional sports and many college events this winter and spring have been postponed and/or canceled.

That statement effectively ended the high school basketball seasons for the DeRuyter and Marathon boys basketball team and Homer Central senior Nick Hinshaw’s third appearance in the state bowling championships.

The Rockets are the Section 3 champions, the co-number-one team in Class D at 24-0 and would have faced the team they are tied with in the state poll, Section 10 champion Chateaugay (23-1), Saturday at the SRC Arena.

“We are positively devastated,” DeRuyter coach Ric Barnes said. “To get this far and have the rug pulled out from under us is hard. The state is doing what it has to do. I’m just sad for our guys. It’s hard to deal with.”

Barnes tried to keep things normal, but knew what could happen.

“We knew this was a possibility,” Barnes said. “We kept practicing and really had two of our best practices of the season that past two days. We had a team that could win a state title, unfortunately, now we may never know.”

While his team is his primary concern, he does feel equally bad for Marathon and Olympians’ head coach Jim Holland.

“We really only have a couple of seniors,” Barnes said. “He (Holland) has a lot of more seniors that have to go through this.”

“It’s been a rough afternoon,” Holland said. “It didn’t go well. The seniors really took it hard. There were a lot of tears. They had won states in soccer and really believed they had a chance to also do it in basketball. I really felt like I was at calling hours for a funeral when I told them.”

The Olympians are 20-3, the Section 4 Class D champions and ranked fifth in the state poll.

“We still practiced until five,” Holland said. “I told the guys I would talk to them some more, but I wasn’t ready to said good-bye yet. That will be something I will have to do at some point.”

“This is a great group of seniors,” he continued. “They really taught the younger players a lot and set a good base. We will be in a rebuilding mode next year. There’s no doubt about it, but young guys like Conor (Holland’s son) and Braeden Morrison will be part of a good team that comes back. They’ve learned a lot since they came up to varsity during last season.”

Marathon will go out on a high note. The Olympians did post a 61-33 win over Section 11 champion Children’s Village Tuesday in a state sub-regional game at Windsor High School.

For Homer coach Robert Nasiatka, it was a tough decision about the state bowling tournament not taking place at Strike ‘N Spare Lanes in Mattydale the next three days.

“Very disappointed Nick was unable to bowl at states,” Nasiatka said. “If you have ever been to the event, you would understand. It is wall to wall people, coaches and players. I feel sorry for Nick since he is a senior, the only silver lining is that he had participated twice before. He plans on bowling in college so his career does not end there.”

Now the waiting game continues. Most likely, we will never see the winter championships concluded. Spring practice starts for Section 3 teams Monday and Section 4 has been prepping as well. All the colleges are going to online classes (long distance instruction) after spring breaks and spring seasons are done in the Ivy League and SUNYAC for the local colleges. The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) involves Syracuse and the league has suspended all practices and games until further notice.

As of now, Tompkins Cortland Community College is still having athletic events, home and away, but that could change as well.