Shortly after the Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced in late August that their high schools will not be competing in fall sports this season, Devon Prep, along with La Salle College High School, St. Joseph’s Prep and Holy Ghost Prep, agreed to play a modified fall 2020 Catholic League schedule, with the Tide competing against the other three schools in cross country, golf, and soccer.
On Thursday afternoon, the Devon Prep golf team opened its fall season with a match against LaSalle at North Hills Country Club. The Tide, who sent eight golfers out to play, battled LaSalle all the way on the par 35 front nine at North Hills, losing by just three strokes (232-235).
Devon Prep golf coach Tony Ball said, “Both our golfers and LaSalle’s golfers felt very fortunate to play today; they felt it was a privilege and an honor to have the opportunity to play today. Everyone on both teams was aware of the special [COVID-19 pandemic] situation, they went out to play as foursomes, but every golfer walked and stayed to themselves. Some of the golfers felt more comfortable wearing a mask on the course. I’d like to thank North Hills, too, for doing a great job hosting us today.”
For Devon Prep, freshman Nick Ciocca shot a one-over-par 36 for nine holes, and senior captain Ryan McCabe scored a 38.
The Tide will open its soccer season against St. Joseph’s Prep on Sept. 19.
“We’re ecstatic to have the opportunity to compete this season,” said Devon Prep cross country coach Kim Nolan. “We’re fortunate that our athletes have put in the summer miles and are ready for some races – whatever that looks like in such an unprecedented time. We’ve been getting in some hilly miles in Valley Forge this summer and through the beginning of the school year so far and are excited to compete locally.”
More than 85 percent of Devon Prep’s student population participates in athletics, including managers, members of the broadcast club, and school publications that rely upon a season being played.
Devon Prep athletic director Jason Fisher said, “Athletics play an important part in the lives of our student-athletes, not only from a physical standpoint but from a social and emotional perspective as well. A primary part of our reopening plan at Devon included providing athletic opportunities for our students in a safe and healthy way as an attempt to help aid their physical, social and emotional development.”
During this summer, Devon Prep ran reintegration camps through July to get its student-athletes engaged and participating.
“Once the state allowed camps to run in the beginning of July, we really wanted to get our students back on campus in a safe way,” said Fisher. “The school started running camps for a wide array of programs, following all of the social distancing guidelines. We ran mock trial, constitutional law, drama, art, computers, athletics… the main goal was to safely start the process of reintegrating our students along with providing them safe ways to socialize with their peers.
“Each of the sections of the camps was limited in size but the students had a chance to see their peers and learn a little about a topic that they were interested in. They could sign up for different sections and topics each week. The students had a great time. It also gave us a lot of baseline knowledge that if we take the proper steps and follow the guidelines that we are able to safely reintroduce sports to our athletes.”
On Wednesday, Fisher noted, “The [Devon Prep] teams have been working out for the past couple of weeks. We are not planning on cutting anyone so we will not have formal tryouts. I would imagine the schedules will be constantly evolving as well.”