Friday, February 03, 2023


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Sports Article
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Fall Sports Approved; Now What?
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

            Last week's vote by the Upper Perkiomen School Board to move forward with fall sports in the district created multiple uncertainties: How many games will each sport play? When will the schedules be released? Will there be a postseason? Would one positive COVID-19 case force the cancellation of all sports?

            Every day one question gets answered, three more emerge, according to John Brittain, the head coach of Upper Perkiomen's golf team. He said every coach is prepared to expect the unexpected.

            "We have to be ready for every curveball," said Brittain, who serves on District One's golf steering committee.

            Half of the 12-member Pioneer Athletic Conference has opted not to compete to one degree or another. Norristown, Pottstown and Pope John Paul II will not participate in any sports. Phoenixville will only participate in singles tennis and golf. Upper Merion will compete in golf, girls tennis and cross country. Pottsgrove won't play football. According to Brittain, schools had until Monday to decide the feasibility of having a season.

            "Everyone will see where they are and go from there," he said. "Everything is so up in the air. It's a step-by-step thing. You have to wait for each individual announcement before start planning for the next thing."

            Brittain said he expects conference officials to release modified schedules after official practice begins Tuesday. Boyertown's status became uncertain after Athletic Director Dominic Palladino announced late last week the cancellation or suspension of all extracurricular activities until Sept. 7 after an individual associated with the high school football team tested positive for the virus.

            Schedules likely won't incorporate divisions since three members of the Frontier Division have already opted out, according to Brittain. He said the Indians football schedule could include only matchups against conference opponents, most of which are from the large school Liberty Division. Head coach Tom Hontz expressed the hope of scheduling some non-conference opponents.

            "The big question is who will we play?" he wrote in a text message. "We have some exciting players that I would like to see get to play. These guys have worked hard, and under normal conditions, we would have had a fun year competing in our division."

            Neither Mike Freed nor Kyle Fisher, Upper Perkiomen's girls and boys soccer coaches, respectively, know what to expect in terms of a season. Fisher said his players fear no opponents.

            "We will work hard to represent UP in the best possible way," Fisher wrote in a text message. 

            Cross-country coach Todd Niemann expects to only run dual meets. He wrote in a text that the meets will be smaller than usual to avoid infection.

            Coaches are not sure if the district or the PIAA will host post-season tournaments, according to Brittain. He said a decision by the Central and Ches-Mont leagues to opt out of all sports makes that unlikely.

            Additionally, a decision by the 21 Suburban One League schools to follow the schedule set by the PIAA further complicates that effort. Quakertown, a member school, started official fall practice Monday.






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