October 21, 2021

It could have been a great weekend

Tom Vartanian/Cortland Standard sports editor

The New York State Spring Sports Championships would have been this weekend. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cortland High School’s Moiseichik Field and other other area schools fields were deserted as the student-athletes did not have a spring sports season.

This weekend was scheduled to be the official end of the high school sports season.

All the weeks of practice and games from March to May were to determine the best teams in New York State with the New York State Public High School Athletic Association hosting the championship games for boys’ lacrosse, girls’ lacrosse, baseball, softball and track and field Friday and Saturday. Boys’ tennis, boys’ golf and girls’ golf were scheduled for this past weekend. Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic put the brakes on all spring sports and, of course, took away the winter championship as well.

Aside from the joys, disappointments and such that involved the finals, there is that economic impact for the local region as well. Girls’ lacrosse was to take place at the SUNY Cortland Stadium Complex, baseball was to be played in the Binghamton area and track and field was to be held at CiceroNorth Syracuse High School. That meant teams and families would be spending the weekend in most of the host cities with lodging, food and experiencing things the areas had to offer.

“It certainly as been very disappointing for the student athletes and the coaches,” NYSPHSAA Executive Director Dr. Robert Zayas said. “I took my daughter to the track and field state championships last year. I had taken her before, but she was in sixth grade last year and fell in love with. She was going to do modified track and field this year. I know it has been very disappointing and hard in so many ways.”

For the Class of 2020, there will a chance to have a graduation ceremony now, but it certainly has been a bizarre end for all the student-athletes.

The Marathon and DeRuyter boys took a double hit when their basketball teams were each one win away from meeting in the state semifinals when the winter season was canceled in March. Those seniors could only be left wondering “what if” for that season, but there was still hope to have a spring season to close out their high school careers. That chance was ended in the month of April.

Not knowing every scenario at the eight local high school we cover, I do know the Homer Central senior Mattie Riter was going to make a run at the school’s career scoring record, but her final lacrosse season was canceled.

It hasn’t just been the high schools that were affected this spring.

SUNY Cortland had baseball, softball, men’s lacrosse and women’s lacrosse teams ready to make runs at SUNYAC and bigger championships as most of their seasons were just getting started. Who know what might of happens with the Red Dragon track and field athletes.

Tompkins Cortland Community College was continued to make strides in the spring with its sports teams and spirits are always high to make a good showing.

While the college and high school season were put on hold, there was still hope that you might see some college baseball this spring and summer when the Cortland Crush were ready to play its second season at the Gutchess Lumber Sports Complex, but the New York Collegiate Baseball League, which draws some support from Major League Baseball, joined the other summer collegiate leagues in pulling the plug on its season. Speaking of the Gutchess Lumber Sports Complex, there were a lot of big plans for action there this spring and summer, but many of those plans have taken a hit as well.

Don’t think that just the college and high schools were affected by the COVID-19. Many of the youth sports programs like Cathy Stage Softball, the youth lacrosse leagues and little league baseball have felt the effects. While Cathy Stage and youth lacrosse were postponed, Crown City Little League and Homer Little League could not have normal seasons, but both are looking at some modified plans for July and August. Crown City Little League is looking at a Major Division only restart with clinics and other activities for Minor Division players. No start date has been announced yet. The Cortland men’s, women’s and church softball leagues were also canceled for the summer.

While the golf courses are open, there is league play underway, but there is still not a lot on tournaments that the different courses host, but we will update that information as it becomes available.

Basically, everyone is going through a situation that none of us have ever experienced before. While there is some light at the end of the tunnel, so much is still unknown and that could well be the scariest thing of all.

To all of those senior student-athletes, it’s too bad you couldn’t enjoy one last season, but thank you for all the memories you have provided your parents and friends and good luck in all your future endeavors.

To all the returning students-athletes, let’s hope things are more normal in the fall and everyone can begin to rejoin the sports world. There will be questions like how get this be done safely, will there be spectators and much more. Only time will tell.

“This is still such a rapidly developing situation, Zayas said. “There is still a lot of uncertainty moving forward. We have members from the Governor’s Office, the State Department of Health and the State Education Department on our COVID-19 Task Force (see related story) and are going to look at how to get things restarted. It’s just too far in the future to make a decision on the fall sports season at this time.”