Bulldogs to play in ‘Fall II’ sports season
Old Rochester Regional High School athletes will get to play fall sports after all — in the winter.
After the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association voted to approve the Fall II season on Jan. 29, ORR Athletic Director Bill Tilden confirmed that the Bulldogs would begin “fall” competition on March 8.
The new season will allow for sports traditionally played in the fall — like football, soccer and Field Hockey — to have seasons after the South Coast Conference postponed all fall sports this academic year.
The season will run through May 8, and include a short playoff at the end before spring sports begin on May 10.
“It will be very similar to what the other schools were able to pull off in the fall,” Tilden said.
Football, boys and girls soccer, field hockey and volleyball will all be offered in the Fall II season. Tilden said that ORR is also looking into holding a joint cross country and winter track season, but it’s likely that the school will have to choose one over the other.
“It’s likely to be much more like winter track even though it’s outside,” Tilden said.
The season will be mostly intra-conference competition, with the potential for inter-conference field hockey play due to a lack of nearby teams.
All sports other than volleyball will be played outside, which opens up the season to challenges beyond preventing covid spread.
The athletic director said that with larger teams and weather factors, holding the Fall II season might even be tougher than holding the indoor winter sports season.
Teams like football, soccer and track and field have dozens of athletes, and practices that would normally accommodate both Junior Varsity and Varsity athletes will have to be broken up.
“Trying to keep those levels completely separate is going to be tough,” Tilden said, adding that other logistical problems like space constraints in the gym will prevent most teams from being able to practice indoors on days with inclement weather.
The winter track season may pose its own specific challenges, as championship meets typically include athletes from multiple schools.
Tilden said most of the season will be made up of dual-meets, with the possibility of invitationals or a championship meet near the end of the season. He added that virtual meets — like the ones being conducted for swimming and diving — are unfavorable due to the lack of automated timing systems across the SCC.
“I’m looking forward to the coaches meeting where we can try to iron that stuff out,” the athletic director added.
For now, though, Tilden said that he hopes the school can keep ORR’s field in good condition through the New England weather.
“We’re just hoping Mother Nature is kind to us,” he said.