Section II wrestling picture becoming clearer

John Bearcroft of Scotia-Glenville, in red, tangles with Niskayuna's Ronan Johnson at the Schenectady County Duals at Niskayuna High School last season.

John Bearcroft of Scotia-Glenville, in red, tangles with Niskayuna's Ronan Johnson at the Schenectady County Duals at Niskayuna High School last season.

There is still a haze over the Section II winter wrestling season, but it has become a bit clearer in the last week or so as more counties have given the go-ahead to allow “high” risk sports to proceed, and many Capital Region school districts have OKed the grappling sport.

“We’re kind of at the next stage,” Schenectady coach and Suburban Council wrestling coordinator Chad Languish said. “At this point, we have a pretty good an idea of which schools are in and which schools are out. I am going to assume schedules and talks are in the works.”

Dual meets, though, won’t be taking place any time this week.

“You still have to have 10 practices before you can compete,” Languish said. “Probably mid to late next week.”

On Monday, Albany County joined the counties that have consented to “high” risk sports (wrestling, basketball, ice hockey, cheerleading) after its seven-day rolling average of the coronavirus positivity rate dipped below 4.0, but a complete list of Albany County schools that will wrestle has yet to be determined.

“Some other schools have already gotten a couple of practices in,” Languish said. “The next step for them [Albany County] is who is going to compete.”

Languish found out last week that Schenectady will not be among the Suburban Council schools that will wrestle in the coming weeks, following a ruling by the district’s school board. Niskayuna, another Schenectady County member that is located a couple of miles away, was cleared to wrestle last week by its school board.

“Unless something changes, and I don’t see that happening, we will not wrestle,” Languish said. “It definitely was a bummer, especially because you were starting to get a little excited. Schenectady was one of the first counties below 4.0. Some other schools were starting to get approved.”

Montgomery County has its wrestling programs on pause after giving the OK for its other “high” risk winter sports, but gave that OK without the 4.0 seven-day rolling average of the coronavirus positive rate as a barometer. As of Tuesday, it stood at 6.4.

“The superintendents in our county are waiting for the rate to go down to 4.0 before they make a decision on wrestling,” Amsterdam coach John Paris said. “It would be nice to have them say if we get to 4.0 by a certain time, we’ll have a season, and if not, we won’t.”

Paris said his program had been gathering momentum.

“The numbers were up,” said Paris, a former Rams champion who is in his third season in charge of the program. “We tied for third in the section last year. Things were turning around a little bit, and this happens.”

While Amsterdam maintains at least a slim hope of competing before the winter seasons ends March 13, Schenectady can only look ahead to next year.

“We had a Zoom meeting with the kids, and we’re trying to keep their spirits up,” Languish said. “For our younger kids, we told them that, hopefully next year, we’ll be back to some normalcy. For the seniors, we told them that although this is a tough situation, you’ve got bigger things to focus on and keep looking forward.”

Categories: High School Sports, Sports

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