Foothills Council going virtual for bowling, boys’ swimming competition this winter

Amsterdam's Kai Brennan bowls during a match against Gloversville last season at Arterial Lanes in Gloversville.

Amsterdam's Kai Brennan bowls during a match against Gloversville last season at Arterial Lanes in Gloversville.

Categories: High School Sports, Sports

Foothills Council competition in both bowling and boys’ swimming will be held virtually during the 2020-21 winter season.

Amsterdam athletic director and Foothills Council president Steve Nolan said in a phone interview Friday that while the league will sponsor play in both sports this winter, they’ll be done with opposing teams in separate venues, with coaches reporting results to a central source.

“We would swim and bowl at our own places, and we’re coming up with the plan for the coaches,” Nolan said. “Right now, it’s that the coaches would send their scores to the league secretary, and he would compile and keep track of the scores. That’s how we would maintain records.”

Bowling and swimming are two of the “low” and “moderate” risk sports currently allowed to compete under guidance from the state Department of Health. The other winter sports in those categories are Nordic and Alpine skiing, indoor track and field and gymnastics.

The plan for boys’ swimming and diving is broadly similar to the plan used during the fall by the Suburban Council, which held the vast majority of its meets virtually with teams in separate locations.

There are some Foothills teams that share home venues for bowling — Amsterdam and Broadalbin-Perth both hold matches at Kelly’s Imperial Lanes — and Nolan said that the league would work with bowling centers to accommodate social distancing.

“We’re going to leave that up to the individual houses to dictate how they run their establishments,” he said. “Some of them still have restaurants, things like that. We’re going to follow what the individual houses have laid out for us as far as using the lanes. We’ll work with them and make suggestions, but it is their livelihood and we want to make sure we have as little negative impact as we can. We’ll try to start as early as we can to avoid their leagues.” 

During the fall season, the Foothills opted to only sponsor varsity competition in cross country, golf and girls’ tennis, opting to move soccer, field hockey and girls’ swimming and diving to the Fall II season beginning in March, along with football and girls’ volleyball.

Fall sports in the Foothills Council had a roster cap of 20 and no outside spectators were allowed.

Nolan said the league’s member schools that field ski teams will abide by all regulations set up by Section II to run meets this winter. The league does not have any member schools with gymnastics teams.

As for indoor track, Nolan said competition looks unlikely in the Foothills this winter with the likely unavailability of the three primary venues used for competition in Section II: UAlbany, Union College and Hudson Valley Community College.

“I don’t see [indoor track] happening at this time, because of no venues,” he said.

Section II announced last week that it was pushing back the start date for “low” and “moderate” risk winter sports from Nov. 30 to Dec. 14. Earlier this week, the New York State Public High School Athletic Association announced it was moving the start date for “high” risk winter sports — basketball, wrestling, ice hockey and competitive cheerleading — to Jan. 4, though competition in those sports still needs state DOH approval to commence.

Nolan said league members have started “preliminary discussions” about what seasons in those sports might look like, should authorization be granted.

“Most of the schools have either started, or will be initiating, return to participation programs,” he said. “We’ve discussed those in length, and we probably will be meeting after the Thanksgiving break to put more discussions in.”

A possible plan for basketball season, Nolan said, would be to schedule boys’ and girls’ games between schools on the same night, but at opposite sites, to reduce the number of days that buildings are open and provide more time for cleaning. For the last several years, the Foothills basketball season has featured girls’ games on Mondays and Thursdays, with boys’ teams playing Tuesdays and Fridays.

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