Mohawk Trail athletics receive school committee approval for field hockey, golf, XC

  • Mohawk Trail’s Mya Lesieur, right, moves the ball against Sairi Winkler, of Holyoke, during field hockey action last fall. The Mohawk Trail Regional School Committee voted to approve field hockey, golf and cross country for the upcoming fall season. STAFF FILE PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

Published: 9/10/2020 4:24:02 PM

Add Mohawk Trail Regional to the list of local districts that have voted to participate in the upcoming fall sports season.

The Mohawk Trail Regional School Committee voted Wednesday night to proceed with the sports of field hockey, golf and cross country for the fall season, which is set to begin with preseason practices Sept. 18. Games, matches and meets will follow beginning Sept. 30.

Mohawk Trail Athletic Director Greg Vouros confirmed that the school’s other normal fall offerings — football, soccer and volleyball — will be moved to the new Fall II season created by MIAA, which is set to run Feb. 22 until April 25. Vouros said Mohawk Trail will play only Franklin County schools.

“Student safety is our number one priority,” explained Vouros, whose district is beginning the school year remotely. “Although this wouldn’t be the ‘traditional’ sports season, we are excited to give student-athletes the opportunity to play and provide them with much-needed social-emotional connection while they're in the remote environment.”

Athol High School is the only remaining Recorder area school that is still awaiting approval from its school committee to participate in fall sports. Athol-Royalston’s next meeting is Sept. 16, and athletics are on the agenda.

Athol seeking golf, cross country coaches

Pending school committee approval, Athol is planning to move forward with two new sports for the upcoming fall season.

The school is looking to add varsity golf and varsity cross country to its catalog of sports, as the two teams would accompany field hockey for this season. Athol AD Dan Bevis is seeking interested candidates for both the golf and cross country coaching jobs. If interested, please email a letter of interest to Bevis (dbevis@arrsd.org). Both positions are contingent upon Sept. 16 approval from the school committee for competition in fall interscholastic athletics.

Athol hasn’t had a golf program since 2009, when the sport moved from a spring to fall offering. There wasn’t enough interest following the switch to a new season. Cross country was dropped as a varsity offering in 2002, also due to lack of numbers. That decision was particularly surprising because just one year earlier, the Athol boys team went 19-0, captured a Pioneer North Division championship, and won the program’s first WMass Division II title. In 2002, however, the school only managed to get four boys and four girls out for their teams, and wound up running as a club program.

Deerfield Board of Health approves Frontier procedures

Deerfield Board of Health officials have approved the policies and procedures for the fall athletics program at Frontier Regional School.

“I’ve reviewed all of the procedures in place to make sure they’re safe,” said Board of Health member Trevor McDaniel. “ … I would like to give that approval to Frontier so they can move forward with the sports program for the year.”

The approval was for field hockey, cross country and golf, in particular, as they will have competitive seasons, he said.

McDaniel said the policies are designed to ensure a safe season. They address issues such as locker room use, and how practices and meets will be modified. In cross country, for example, runners will utilize a staggered start to allow for social distancing.

Football, soccer and volleyball will also be offered this fall, but for practice only, according to an announcement on the school website.

“All of this stuff is subject to review,” said Board of Health member Carolyn Shores Ness.

Franklin Tech joins the mix

Franklin County Technical School received unanimous school committee approval on Wednesday night to participate in fall sports. Like the rest of the area schools, the Turners Falls set will offer golf, field hockey and cross country. Tech did not have a cross country program last year due to low participation numbers, but will offer the sport if there is enough interest this fall.

“Hopefully there will be enough interest generated with other sports moving to the floating (Fall II) season,” Franklin Tech AD Joe Gamache said.

Franklin Tech is one of the few schools in Western Mass. operating under a hybrid model this year, and Gamache said he wanted to make sure the school committee was aware of his department’s plans for the impending fall.

“We wanted full disclosure with them about our thoughts and plans were to make sure they were comfortable with us operating in that fashion,” said Gamache.

Smith Academy votes against fall sports

While Franklin County schools are heading toward playing some games this fall, Smith Academy won’t be joining them. The Hatfield School Committee voted earlier this week that the school, which is affiliated with the Franklin County Athletic Directors Association and thus would have played against schools in the County, won’t be participating in the upcoming fall season.

By a 3-2 vote, Smith Academy will move its fall offerings (field hockey and soccer) to the Fall II season.

“It didn’t seem like a manageable thing or a safe choice is what people who voted no were thinking,” Smith Academy Athletic Director Allison Slysz said. “Just adding something else on the plate didn’t seem logical at this point.”

Smith Academy became the first Hampshire County school to postpone fall sports. Hatfield Committee Chair Jill Robinson and committee member Danielle Stanisewski voted to have sports, according to Slysz. Vice Chair Heather Cahill, and members Rebecca Bench and Christy Boudreau voted no.

Smith Academy teams will not be allowed to practice this fall.

Hopkins Academy is also affiliated with Franklin County schools and will participate in golf and cross country in the area this fall. The school does not have a field hockey program.

Jeff Lajoie is the sports editor of the Recorder. He can be reached at jlajoie@recorder.com. Mary Byrne covers South County and can be reached at mbyrne@recorder.com or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne


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