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North Shore athletes excited to return


Many North Shore High School student-athletes are back in action, while others have renewed hope following a high-risk sports go-ahead from New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo last Friday.

Low- and moderate-risk winter sports began Jan. 4 when despite rising Covid-19 numbers, bowling, gymnastics, track and field, fencing, swimming/diving and air rifle began practice statewide. High-risk winter sports such as basketball, wrestling, hockey and competitive cheerleading can resume Feb. 1 if approved by the Nassau County Health Department.

North Shore is competing in all sports offered so far this winter with the exception of air rifle. Its largest participation is in track and field, where the girls’ team is coming off a county championship.

“We were very disappointed to lose the spring season and we’re lucky to have the opportunity to race again,” said senior Sophie Rosencrans, a standout distance runner who’s headed to Williams College. “It looks different, but we’re just glad to be back training together.”

Nassau’s track and field schedules had to be revamped after the county was notified by St. Anthony’s High School in South Huntington it would be unable to host meets inside its fieldhouse. Instead, Section VIII, the governing body for Nassau high school athletics, moved to Plan B, which calls for outdoor meets at high schools. Only a handful of schools will have one or two in-person meets.

“The kids are very motivated,” said Vikings coach Neal Levy, who has a roster of 25. “They’re outstanding when it comes to structure and discipline,” he added. “They’ve been wearing masks for quite some time and nobody’s complaining about competing with a mask on.”

North Shore’s gymnastics team had its first virtual meet on Jan. 19 and it was livestreamed on the school’s website. Coach Melissa Vassallo said the roster of nine is led by senior captains Madison Berry and Jamie Holzmann. Both compete in all four events.

“They’ve missed competing so much it was a relief to get the season going,” Vassallo said. “The first meet was a learning experience and I thought everyone handled it well.”

Boys’ swimming coach Peter Scala said he’s proud of how the kids are handling everything. The Vikings, with a roster of about 20, are led by senior Robbie Brown (backstroke, breaststroke, 200 Individual Medley) and sophomore Nathaniel Brower, who excels in distance events. “We have to keep our enthusiasm high without the benefit of fans or an opponent,” Scala noted.

There’s now growing optimism for the four winter sports deemed “high risk” (basketball, wrestling, hockey and cheerleading) following Gov. Cuomo’s announcement last Friday.

North Shore boys’ basketball head coach Kevin Carpenter said the ability to run an intramural program provided kids with an important outlet while everyone played the waiting game. “The news from state and local officials is inspiring and just what our student-athletes needed as 2021 in underway,” Carpenter said. “We are eager to play and look forward to the opportunity.”