Winter sports teams get the green light to start Monday

The winter sports season has arrived just in time for the new year.
With Governor Tom Wolf allowing recent COVID-related restrictions to expire on Monday, area teams can resume activities.
“It will be great to work with our players live again,” said Dean Behrens, coach of the perennial power Pennridge boys basketball team. “I really feel good for the seniors. We have six very dedicated seniors who represent our school with class. I know how much they want a season.”
The winter season has been on hold since Dec. 12, when restrictions took effect, bringing practice and scheduled games to a halt at that point.
With the season now resuming, the earliest contests may be held is Friday.
The PIAA Board of Directors will meet on Wednesday, Jan. 6, to discuss the winter sports season further. They will then determine its winter sports championship calendar.
“We will not change who we are or how we practice,” Behrens said. “Our players know the expectations of playing Pennridge basketball. We will play hard, have fun, and be great teammates.”
Pennridge is used to making deep runs into the postseason, having reached the PIAA-6A State Final in 2019.
The Rams can finally return to the hardwood.
Wolf, allowing the season to resume, said the state-wide positivity rate for the virus has reduced for the second week in a row.
There are still some things to be decided, including the state championship timeline for team wrestling.
There was a lot of uncertainty in recent weeks but a start to the season could be a good beginning for 2021.
“We zoomed three times a week, in which we conditioned the boys,” Behrens said of zoom meetings helping to keep the team together. “Our strength coach, Dan Branch, did a great job setting up our conditioning program over zoom.
“The boys did a great job following the program.”

Souderton’s Jordan Zimmerman (2) looks to move the ball into the paint against Bensalem last season. She is a captain for BIg Red in 2021.
James Beaver/For MediaNews Group

The Souderton Area girls, a regular in the state playoffs, also stayed united despite the enforced separation. 

“We were fortunate to get seven practices in before the latest three-week shutdown and the girls were really working hard and focused,” said coach Lynn Carroll, who guided Big Red to the state semis in 2018.  “Every day, it seemed like they were getting better and gelling more as a team.  I cannot wait to get back on the court with them on Monday.  
“Our players did an excellent job of showing up and putting in work during the shutdown. We asked them to be involved six days a weeks and almost every player showed up each day.”
Captains Hayley Fenchel, Olivia Schneider and Jordan Zimmerman led some virtual workouts for Big Red.
“We actually had a few alumni lead some workouts (Mikaela Reese, Alana Cardona and Tori Dowd) and one of our assistants, Nicole Perna, put in a ton of work to keep the girls in shape,” Carroll said.  “I think that everything that’s gone on in the world since our season ended last year has put a lot of things into perspective for both the players and coaches. Nothing is guaranteed moving forward so I think it’s important that we not lose sight of how fortunate we are for each day we get to spend on the court together. 
“Of course, we want to reach our potential on the court and find ways to win games but we also want to make sure that it’s a special season for our seniors and find ways to continue to make memories and forge relationships.”


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