Pictured: Portland High’s baseball team is the defending Shoreline Conference champion.
By Paul Augeri
There remains a ray of hope that the high school spring sports season will be played in some form after the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference announced that canceling the season in its entirety would be “premature at this time.”
Saturday would have been the first practice day for each sport – baseball, softball, lacrosse, golf, tennis, outdoor track and boys volleyball. Gov. Ned Lamont has ordered all schools closed until at least March 31 amid the coronavirus pandemic. The situation remains fluid.
“There is a strong desire to provide student athletes some spring athletic experience if possible,” the CIAC said in a statement released Wednesday. “Any plan for spring sports will need to adhere to the guidelines from the Governor’s office, Department of Education and health experts regarding the potential reopening of schools to establish a specific time frame.”
The original start date for spring contests was April 4.
“That’s the best news we could have hoped for today,” said Portland baseball coach Rick Borg, whose Highlanders are the defending Shoreline Conference champions. “A sliver of hope today is the best we could get. I’m ecstatic that the season hasn’t been canceled. You just go one day at a time.”
CIAC executive director Glenn Lungarini said his organization understood “the value” of possibly providing some semblance of the season while at the same time emphasizing that group practices or gatherings should not occur.
“We ask students to please respect the guidelines offered by the Governor’s Office and State Department of Education as it pertains to social distancing,” Lungarini said. “We want students to be hopeful that we will have some sort of spring experience for our student-athletes, but that should not be received as an invitation to begin practices. The more we can adhere to social distancing, the safer we can keep our communities, the more we can prevent the spread of this virus and the sooner we will be able to return to our schools and our fields of play.”
Most, if not all, school districts in Middlesex County have made school grounds off limits at this time, leaving it up to athletes to prepare on their for the time when — well, if — team gatherings are allowed to take place.