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CANTON — While Section 10’s high school basketball, hockey and wrestling seasons are caught in a holding pattern due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 2021 varsity boys swimming and bowling seasons are scheduled to get under way later this month.

According to Executive Director of Section 10 Athletics Carl Normandin, the three boys swim teams and three bowling squads slated to compete this winter were allowed to begin practicing on November 30 but concerns over growing numbers of COVID-19 cases being recorded throughout the north country, and beyond, caused their starting dates to be pushed to this week. The Frontier League swimming and bowling schools also began practice this week.

Section 10 school districts fielding boys swim teams this season include Franklin Academy, Gouverneur and Canton, which has a merger with Potsdam. Gouverneur was the lone team to start practicing on Monday while Canton-Potsdam and FA have opted to move their opening dates to after Martin Luther King Day, which is Jan. 18.

As the first team to hit the water for the 2021 winter season, Gouverneur will hold the first scheduled meet, a nonleague matchup against Frontier League rival Lowville on Jan. 26. As will be the case with all meets this winter, the teams will swim at their own pools and the results relayed online to determine a winner.

“All the swim meets will be virtual with an abundance of safety in mind,” Normandin said. “The landscape of scholastic athletics has changed so much due to COVID and everything involving high school sports has to be considered.”

“For us to even have these sports, we need cooperation from everyone — players, coaches, officials, bus drivers, everyone,” he added.

The three Section 10 schools slated to have bowling teams this winter include Brushton-Moira, Chateaugay and Franklin Academy. All three are due to begin their seasons later this week after experiencing COVID-related delays in the days leading up to the holiday break.

Both the boys swimming and bowling seasons are slated to end in late-February and no sectional meets are planned for either sport.

The New York State Public High School Athletic Association has already announced that this year’s winter sports championship tournaments and events are canceled. This marks the second straight winter no state bowling champions will be crowned while the boys swim meet was staged last year the weekend before the encroaching coronavirus pandemic forced the state to shut down schools in mid-March.

But while the low-to-moderate risk sports like swimming and bowling have gotten the go-ahead from NYSPHSAA to attempt a season, high risk winter sports such as basketball, hockey and wrestling saw their seasons indefinitely postponed.

“There’s no change in the status of the high risk winter sports at this point,” Normandin said. “A lot is going to depend on how the COVID numbers look over the next couple of weeks before we’ll see what’s going to transpire with the high risk sports.”

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