Since 1985, I have covered high school sports. Section IV has been a part of all of those years and part was a brief fling with Section V overlapping in the early 1990s.
When the high school season began last fall, I was entering my 21st season with the Cortland Standard with Section IV still in the mix along with Section III student-athletes. I have seen just about everything from winless teams to state championship teams and individuals. I always joked with people near the end of the fall, winter or spring season that is nice that things were slowing down a little.
Yes there were still professional and college things to occupy my time, but there was a little quiet time otherwise.
I was also in my first full scholastic sports year as the sports editor and a seven month solo run with the paper. There is a light at the end of the tunnel as a solo act with Sam Feeley getting ready to join me in the sports department for the spring season.
Feeley is coming on board Monday. Who would have thought that just two weeks ago a trip to Windsor High School would be an abrupt end to a great run by a pair of local boys’ varsity basketball teams in Marathon and DeRuyter.
There were some glimmers of hope as Dryden sent five athletes in the state indoor track and field championships and they turned in some nice performances while Homer freshman wrestler Sam Sorenson battled to a fifth place finish at 220 pounds in the state’s Division II Wrestling Championships. Groton senior Kyle Willard placed sixth at the same Division II Championships at 126 pounds.
The Olympians won that game in Windsor with a convincing 61-33 win over Children’s Village from Section I and were looking to return to the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) Class D Final Four while the Rockets were sharing the top spot in the state’s Class D rankings and undefeated. Both teams were one win away from meeting each other in the state semifinals, which would have been last Friday with one having the possibility of advancing of playing for a state title the next day. Also, on the horizon was a third trip to the NYSPHSAA Division II Bowling Championships for Homer Central School senior Nick Hinshaw as a member of the Section III Boys’ Composite team.
Well COVID-19 put an end of that and over the next few days every professional sports suffered a similar fate. The NBA and NHL seasons were heading down the final stretch towards the playoffs. Golf, auto racing, tennis and pro soccer were early into their respective seasons and Major League Baseball was closing on its opening day which is tomorrow.
The NCAA and NJCAA announced any winter collegiate national championships were canceled and the spring championships are off as well. There went the SUNY Cortland and Tompkins Cortland Community College spring seasons and some teams at both schools showing promise of a good season.
The NYSPHSAA announced Monday that the remaining winter sports championships were canceled. The local bowling leagues even fell victim to COVID-19 and we wait to see what the local golf leagues will do as many are expecting to be in league action starting in April or May.
Suddenly, the door was slammed shut and I am writing stories and opinion pieces from the living room of my house as my family hunkers down in these unsettled times. It has become too quiet for a guy who tries to run around and watch the local student-athletes give their best efforts.
Yes the NFL is in free agency so things are happening there. The 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, The Masters, The Kentucky Derby and, yes, MLB’s opening day are shuttered for now among other things and we’ll wait and see when things get back to normal.
Still up in the air is the start of high school spring sports season and a decision about the NYSPHSAA spring championships will be made by April 27.
What’s a sports editor to do?
With Sam coming on board, we are going to try and get as many winter all-star stories done as possible with schools shut down and information possibly very limited to acquire. We hope to have some spring previews depending on how quickly the high schools are back in session and if there is a season.
We will look to spotlight some high school seniors who are certainly having a final year that no one has ever experienced.
I encourage coaches to reach out to us. I encourage high school seniors to reach out to us to talk about the current season and their future plans if they are looking to play in college.
Who knows what else might pop up? I mean NASCAR aired a simulator race from the virtual Miami-Homestead Raceway Sunday and it was received very well.
As the Cortland Standard sports editor, I will do my best to keep everyone informed on the sports scene at the professional, collegiate and scholastic levels. You can reach out to me and Sam through email at email@example.com. If you wish to leave a phone number in your email, we will get back to you but we are not in the office to take phone calls at this time.
In the meantime, everyone stay safe and we look forward to seeing out there as soon as we can.