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Winter high school sports championships canceled

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On Monday morning, the New York State Public High School Athletic Association announced the cancellation of the remaining winter state championship events. 

The impacted championship events include the boys and girls basketball regionals and state championships, as well as the ice hockey and bowling championships. Plans are being developed to honor and formally recognize the students and teams who qualified to participate in these championship events.

Nassau County basketball teams impacted by this decision are the Baldwin boys and girls, East Rockaway boys and girls, Elmont boys, Locust Valley girls, and Carle Place girls.

“It is with great disappointment that we make the decision to cancel the remaining winter championship events,” said Dr. Robert Zayas, NYSPHSAA Executive Director. “Our association’s focus is to benefit students through participation in interscholastic athletics and unfortunately this rapidly developing situation has prevented our association from providing a quality championship experience. We certainly sympathize for the students who are being impacted by this crisis but at this time they deserve honesty from the leadership of our association.” 

Factors that played a role in this decision include but are not limited to: the evolving COVID-19 public threat, CDC mass gathering recommendations, Governor Cuomo’s declaration of a state emergency, President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency, input from the 11 Sections and extended school closures. 

Baldwin’s girls’ basketball team captured a seventh straight county Class AA championship on March 8, defeating Syosset at Nassau Coliseum. That same evening on the same court, the Bruins beat Uniondale for the Class AA boys title.

“The cancellation of the winter season is extremely disappointing but understandable,” Baldwin athletic director Ed Ramirez said. “My heart breaks for our basketball players and spring athletes, especially the seniors. This is bigger than athletics and the decision was made with health and safety in mind.”

Locust Valley’s girls finished the season undefeated at 22-0. It was supposed to face Westhampton in the LIC. "The girls understand there is a great crisis taking place and they understand it was the only decision that could have been made," head coach Mike Guidone said. "We are the only undefeated Class A basketball team in New York State and that can never change. The team is focused on helping the community and world rise from this greater challenge."

Elmont, coached by George Holub, won its third Nassau Class A boys crown in five seasons on March 7, defeating South Side. The Spartans were set to play Amityville in a highly anticipated LIC the following weekend. The East Rockaway girls and boys won the L.I. Class C titles on March 9 and 10, respectively.

“This is one of the most difficult decisions the Officers of the NYSPHSAA have ever had to make,” said Paul Harrica, President of NYSPHSAA. “It has been determined it is not feasible for the Winter State Championships to be hosted in a safe and beneficial manner for the participating student-athletes and their teams in the near future. The health and safety of the students we serve will always be our top priority.”

With school districts closed for an extended period of time, Sections and schools are individually determining the Spring sport start dates and practice parameters that best meet the needs of the students they represent.

The status of the NYSPHSAA Spring State Championships will be determined on or prior to Monday, April 27.