Saratoga Springs, N.Y. (NEWS10) — High school athletes finally got some good news today.
“It felt surreal. I didn’t think it was actually real,” Shenendehowa senior basketball player Meghan Huerter said. “My dad sent me the tweet and I had to read it three times before I actually processed it through my head that we actually have a chance to play.”
“We were actually here [518Athlete] when we saw it so we were all together and we were all just really happy,” Cambridge senior basketball player Lilly Phillips said. “We were jumping for joy and we were smiling, it was awesome.”
New York state has OK’d high risk winter sports to begin practice February 1st, pending county approval. While basketball and wrestling just might be saved, the news bodes well for football as well.
“I mean I’m under the impression that if they’re going to let basketball play and they’re going to let wrestling happen then we’re definitely going to be able to play too,” Troy football head coach Bob Burns said. “The crazy thing is we’re 40 days away from actually starting official practice to get going so we’ve got a lot of work to do between now and then just to get ready.”
Local players have been doing whatever it takes to stay in shape wherever they can get the work in. As long as the county feels it’s safe, they can get back to some sense of normal practice, then hopefully games.
“Working out here has been a big thing,” Huerter said. “We’ve been working out since the summer, staying socially distanced, wearing masks, being cautious.”
“I’ve been fortunate enough my school district has allowed me to do workouts,” Burns said. “We’ve been doing them all fall and we’ve still been out here now.
“It’s a little chilly but we’re doing what we can. They couldn’t let us go inside.”
“I’ve been itching to play again, a real game, instead of maybe some pickup or just shooting around,” Saratoga senior basketball player Abby Ray said. “It’s real exciting.”
With guidance now passed to the county, opting in to high risk sports may vary by school district.
“We cross over into so many counties based on our classifications that it might be challenging if some say yes and some say no,” Burns said. “I’m sure there’s going to be some school districts that still opt out due to concerns.
“We still understand too that we have to be vigilant with following the protocols and things like that because a couple mishaps could screw it all up.”
One thing is clear among local athletes and coaches. They’re ready to do whatever it takes to play.