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Suburban One League delays winter sports

Pennridge coach Dean Behrens goes strategy with Anthony Phillips (21), Luke Yoder (4), and Trent Fisher (23) in the final minute of the SOL Championship game Monday, Feb. 10, 2020. (James Beaver/For MediaNews Group)

The Suburban One League Executive Committee voted Friday Nov. 20 to approve winter sports with a delayed start.

The league approved the delay of the start of practices and workouts for all member schools, which were supposed to begin Nov. 20, until Dec. 7.

Teams can start playing non-league, non-conference, non-divisonal and non-crossover games on Dec. 22 with SOL competition beginning on Jan. 11.

“We are disappointed we will not have a full season but we are excited that we will have something,” Upper Dublin girls basketball coach Morgan Funsten said. “Our seniors are the ones I think about most when I think about our season because they are such a special group of girls and I feel like they deserve closure to incredible careers.”

Between now and Dec. 7 SOL coaches want their players to stay in shape for the new start date.

“Our players will workout at home individually and we are setting up some team zoom sessions to review workouts,” Pennridge boys basketball coach Dean Behrens  said.

“Our guys are ready to go,” Plymouth Whitemarsh boys basketball coach Jim Donofrio said. “Two weeks – find a court in your driveway; get to one of the parks if you’re allowed. We were able to salvage an offseason enough. I think our kids will be able to pick it up on December 7th if that’s the case. The question is – I still think that’s very much up in the air.”

The SOL said the start dates could change again. The league’s press release read: “The Suburban One League is committed to the health and safety of all our student-athletes, coaches, and spectators. The Board recognizes that the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic affect each of our member schools differently and that their responses to it are guided by the needs of their respective communities. The League will endeavor to accommodate the scheduling needs of our members and will proceed with the understanding that this is a fluid situation and subject to change.”

“I hope we are able to resume our season at a later date,” Behrens said. “I really feel for the athletes especially the seniors.”

“I just hope we have a season of some type,” Donofrio added. “I hope if we have to wait, I hope those in charge figure out a way to say it’s OK to have it and not say, ‘It has to be over by March 30th or you can’t have it.’ You have to really think outside the box here with this. Do you really want to lose the chance at a state title two years in a row in Pennsylvania?

“There’s two different worlds with this – there’s wishful thinking and there’s the numbers in Montgomery County and the health commissioner who’s really in charge of everything. If they put out the decree that there’s no permission to play games or sports, there’s not much anybody can do about it.”

The SOL Executive Committee resolved that each school district will make its own decision when it comes to allowing home spectators at home games. Visiting spectators will not be allowed to attend games.

The 2019-20 winter sports season was stopped on March 12 due to COVID-19 and the swimming and basketball seasons were never finished. The entire 2020 spring sports season was canceled. The 2020 fall season began after a delay.

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