Let’s try this again. After a three-week layoff, high school teams resumed their preparation for the upcoming season while administrators determined what the course of action will be for winter sports.
The day athletes returned to the courts, mats, and pool superintendents of the Lackawanna Interscholastic Athletic Association, of which the six county schools participate, met to set out some ground rules.
The LIAA will begin competition January 21 with some schools starting later due to the late start of practices. It was determined schools could schedule exhibition games or matches if they meet the recent PIAA altered stipulation of holding 10 practices before schedule competition.
It was also agreed upon that athletes would wear masks while competing, except in the swimming pool. Athletes not actively playing, and coaches must wear masks while on the sideline.
The mask mandate has been in place since practices began in December and is on the mind of several coaches.
“Breathing through the mask is a concern,” said Susquehanna Boys Basketball Coach Lawrence Tompkins. “The stop and restart is a challenge in itself, but when you add the mask on top of that you see the effects.”
“It’s going to affect how many kids you have to play,” added Elk Lake Boys Basketball Coach Rich Emmons. “Younger players you may not have expected to play may have contribute.”
Montrose Wrestling Coach Matt Hawley stated that his wrestlers are dealing with using the masks. “The masks are a little difficult, but I think our wrestlers would do whatever just to get on the mat,” said Hawley.
Later in the week LIAA Athletic Directors, along with Athletic Directors from the Wyoming Valley Conference, met before the District II committee meeting.
In the Wyoming Valley Conference only three schools – Holy Redeemer, Wyoming Seminary, and Wyoming Area – are mandating that all participants wear masks.
In the District II meeting, it was announced that the District II Basketball Championships will continue to held at Mohegan Sun Arena and will take place March 11-13.
District Wrestling Championships will be held February 20 at sites to be determined. Different sites will host the different classifications. The Northeast Regional will be February 27 and a Super Regional that has been added by the PIAA will take place March 6.
LIAA Athletic Directors were set to meet today (Wednesday, Jan. 13) to discuss details, including the issue of spectators and to finalize some scheduling concerns.