Barrington High School’s winter sports teams will begin playing regular season games this weekend, after the state gave the green light to interscholastic league competition earlier this …
Barrington High School’s winter sports teams will begin playing regular season games this weekend, after the state gave the green light to interscholastic league competition earlier this week.
BHS girls basketball coach Stephen Lenz said he and his team were excited when they were extended the opportunity to begin practices a couple of weeks ago.
“Yesterday, when I told them that we got the go ahead to play actual games — you could see them smiling through their masks!” Coach Lenz said on Thursday. “The energy was palpable as the kids left the gym knowing that they were going to be able to compete in a sport that they love … it’s been a long time since I’ve seen a group of teenagers that happy!”
High school winter sports teams across the state had been waiting to learn the fate of their season, as officials worked to balance the health and safety of players, coaches and administrators with an overwhelming desire to offer competitive sports.
On Wednesday, Jan. 20, the governor issued a new executive order updating sports guidance and announcing the start of winter sports competition. Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management Chief Cynthia Elder shared a press release with sports officials across the state, detailing rules and requirements. It stated that games and competitions for moderate and low risk sports could begin, and that practices for higher risk sports were also allowed, as long as members of those teams avoided close, sustained contact.
Other provisions in the new guidance include no out-of-state sports — “All sports organizations are prohibited from participating in tournaments, matches, games, competitions, camps, clinics and practices with out-of-state teams or sporting groups (except for professional and intercollegiate programs),” stated a release.
There are also strict guidelines for occupancy levels at indoor facilities, a mandate for wearing face coverings, and protocols for teams and facilities if an athlete or coach tests positive.
“Participants (athletes, coaches, officials, spectators, etc.) with pending COVID-19 tests who are symptomatic or have been in close contact with someone who is COVID-19 positive should not attend games, practices or any sports activity while waiting for their test results…” stated the release.
Barrington High School Director of Athletics and Student Activities George Finn has been working hard to fine-tune schedules for sports teams as they head into games and competitions.
“We are excited to have our athletes get started with competitions this weekend,” Mr. Finn said on Thursday. “We look forward to scheduled events in basketball, ice hockey, gymnastics, track and field, and swim.
“Athletes and coaches continue to follow protocols and guidance to safely practice and play. The goal now is to protect ourselves, protect others, and protect their seasons.”
Coach Lenz agreed: “As has been since day 1, our number one focus will be safety first — every day we are able to continue to play is a win!”
The start of the winter sports season coincided in Barrington with mandatory Covid-19 testing for all student-athletes. The district is conducting asymptomatic testing for all coaches, staff and athletes once a week.
Following are the scheduled games and matches for the first week of the winter season. All competition could be postponed or canceled, depending on a variety of factors.
• Girls basketball: Tuesday, Jan. 26, Juanita Sanchez at Barrington, at 7 p.m.
• Boys basketball: Saturday, Jan. 23, Barrington at Providence Country Day, at 3 p.m.
• Gymnastics: Sunday, Jan. 24, Barrington vs. Middletown, at Newport YMCA, at noon
• Boys ice hockey: Saturday, Jan. 23, Barrington vs. Moses Brown, at Lynch, at 5:30 p.m.
• Girls ice hockey: Saturday, Jan. 23, East Bay co-op vs. Smithfield, Coventry, MB co-op, at Portsmouth Abbey, TBD
• Boys indoor track: Sunday, Jan. 24, Barrington vs. Hendricken, at PCTA, at 12:30 p.m.
• Girls indoor track: Saturday, Jan. 23, Barrington vs. Exeter-West Greenwich, at PCTA, at 8:15 a.m.
• Girls and boys swimming: Sunday, Jan. 24, Barrington vs. LaSalle, TBD