The PIAA released a statement regarding their intent to move forward with the start of fall sports on Wednesday, July 15. This statement included that it plans to start every sport on time with start dates included as well.
“PIAA is moving forward with the normal start of the fall sports season unless otherwise directed by the Commonwealth. Heat acclimatization for football will begin on Aug. 10 and the first practice date for the remaining fall sports will begin on Aug. 17. Our focus is the health and safety of student athletes which is paramount in moving forward with athletics. Each member school has developed health and safety guidelines to allow athletics to continue as an important part of the school day. Participation in athletics has known health benefits, including promoting physical fitness and mental wellness which is necessary in times of uncertainty for our student athletes.
The PIAA is committed to providing a season for all sports in the upcoming school year and will be flexible if conditions would change.”
With the PIAA committed to giving student athletes a chance to compete in the fall sports season, most area coaches and players are extremely excited to get the chance to have a fall season when many surrounding states have either pushed the season back or canceled altogether.
One area coach who is extremely supportive of the decision and giving student athletes the positive experience of fall sports is Mike Schmitt from the Cowanesque Valley football program.
“I believe the idea to continue forward is the correct idea,” Scmitt said. “Postponing our season to spring doesn’t make sense to me because of weather and other sports might work in warmer weather states but here it’s silly. And just cancelling the season would take away a positive experience in these young people’s lives which is paramount in their development as members of our community and their personal futures.”
With sports and other extracurricular events being a cornerstone in many kids’ lives, Schmitt believes it is important for them to have these experiences as a student as well as the profound positive impact it has on the development into adults.
“I think the PIAA has really taken the lead on this in a positive way and the way I see it is, this is a teaching opportunity for our young people,” Schmitt said. “We can teach them personal responsibility when it comes to their health and the health of others by following rules and guidelines. There is real science out there on how to hold yourself and others accountable and still proceed towards your personal goals while taking care of those around you. What a great chance to be leaders and to be healthy strong young people”
With the season closing in, it is important for those involved to take the personal responsibility to maintain all of the guidelines set to this point, and if followed greatly increases the opportunity that the area teams involved in fall sports will get the chance to compete.
While coaches around the league are fired up and ready to get things started, the players are equally excited about the PIAA’s announcement to try and give athletes a full fall sports season.
One of the area’s best soccer players in Wellsboro’s Will Poirier took the time to weigh in, and with a team that thinks they have a legitmate shot at a District Title, Poirier said this announcement was huge.
“I was super glad,” Poirier commented on his feeling when the announcement was made. “It’s my senior year and we have been playing together since fourth or fifth grade and it’s been so long, so we’re just ready.”
With practices starting, Poirier is just itching to get back on the soccer field and compete.
As of now, Poirier said there doesn’t seem to be a shift in the schedule and their first matchup will be against Millville, with a chance to get some revenge in a District Title rematch from his frehsman season of varsity soccer.