Bulldogs spring into fall sports
Spring is almost here, but Old Rochester Regional High School’s athletes are gearing up for their fall season.
After the fall sports season was delayed last year, athletes are getting to make up for lost time with a “Fall II” season.
Football was the first team to begin practice on March 3, with most of the other fall sports following suit on March 8.
Volleyball, soccer, football, and field hockey will all be competing in the Fall II season, which will run until May 8. Cross country will be the only fall sport not to participate, but those athletes will be able to compete in outdoor track when the spring season starts.
“It’s exciting,” OR Athletic Director Bill Tilden said. “We’ve been waiting for it for a long time.”
Tilden said that he’s hoping his athletes can take the first few weeks of the season to train before games begin in late March, as many fall sports athletes haven’t gotten a chance to play since fall 2019.
But Tilden said he thinks that lack of practice for many athletes is going to make the South Coast Conference more competitive this year.
“I think there’s gonna be a lot of equality throughout the league,” the Athletic Director said.
The season poses some logistical challenges, with the unpredictable weather of late winter and early spring.
Though Tilden said “Mother Nature’s been kind,” to the football team during their first practices, he knows that some practices will have to be cancelled due to weather.
Because of capacity limits in the school’s gyms, most teams won’t be able to practice indoors, or will have to have modified practices with fewer players when the weather is too bad to go outside.
There’s also a 10-person limit in all the locker rooms, so Tilden said that creates a “bottleneck” which is likely to cause some delays getting athletes to practice. Plus, some students will be driving as much as 30 minutes to get to practice if they’re coming from remote classes at home.
So Tilden said that punctuality rules are going to be a little looser this season.
Despite the hardships of making the Fall II season work, Tilden said the football team is looking happier already.
“There’s more pep in their step in the hallway,” he said. “We’re looking for the same thing with these kids that start on Monday.”
Tilden said he hopes that some of the difficulties of putting together high school sports will be gone by the time the spring season rolls around.
“The way the governor’s been lifting restrictions, we should be in even better shape by then,” he said.
But the spring will pose some issues for athletes, too.
The Fall II season will end just three days before the beginning of the spring season, and spring athletes will have very little time to practice before they begin competing.
Typically, there are a few weeks where athletes can practice before their first games and meets — and spring athletes haven’t been able to practice in almost two years.
“There’s one week where they can pick up a lacrosse stick and learn how to catch again,” Tilden said.