MASSENA — As plans are made to open up the winter sports season for basketball and hockey, the student representative on the Massena Central School Board of Education says players just want to get back into the gymnasium again, whether it’s for games or practice.
“Coming from a student aspect of this, I feel like we’re all just so eager to be in a gym,” Delany Durant said during Thursday’s Board of Education meeting. “We understand the risk and we’re willing to take whatever precautions are necessary to keep everyone safe. If the competition side doesn’t work out, would you be willing to at least let us all practice?
She said, as a senior, this was her last opportunity to compete in some of the school sports before going to college, “and I plan on playing at least one of them in college. So, at this point, I really wouldn’t mind not competing. I really would just like to be in a gym so I could improve my skills and at least get that experience one last time.”
“As far as I’m concerned, that’s something I was thinking about really advocating hard for. I’d be thrilled to see that happen if the teams would not play games, and work on their skills. I think that’s a great compromise,” board Vice President Paul Haggett said. “You’ve got my vote.”
Athletic Director Gavin Regan said he and Superintendent Patrick Brady have had that conversation several times.
“If we get to a point that we decide we can’t offer a sport, and I’m not saying we are, but we’re trying to look at some other options if we can’t offer that sport to keep athletes engaged and safe,” he said.
Ms. Durant participates on the school’s rifle team, and said they have been observing COVID safety precautions.
“I obviously know it’s not as high risk as the sports we’re discussing, but I’m currently on the rifle team and we’ve been competing since January. When we’re shooting, it’s only four people shooting instead of eight at a time. We’re not six feet, but we’re three feet and do wear our masks. We take all those precautions and we haven’t had any problems, and we just set a record for our team. So, it was really nice to be back with those people, and we had a great season, so we’re really thankful to have it,” she said.
Mr. Regan said he and Mr. Brady had discussed the status of the rifle team early on.
“I did some research on what level risk it was because it wasn’t out there and it was something we could participate in. You’re right, it’s been a great success and Coach (Christopher) Sanchez and you athletes have done a great job,” he said.
The board had previously discussed the status of the rifle team in January when the New York State Public High School Athletic Association announced that all 2021 winter championships would be canceled, and all high-risk sports would remain postponed until state officials authorized them. The high-risk sports were tentatively scheduled to start practice on Jan. 4.
Members of the rifle team train and hold their shooting matches at the Massena Rod and Gun Club. Since they are the only school with a rifle team in St. Lawrence County, their scores are uploaded and they compete against other schools in the state that have a rifle team.