Southwick School Board approves winter sports

SOUTHWICK – Student-athletes may have protested in anger over the Southwick Regional School Committee’s cancellation of competitive high school sports this past fall, but they are likely to rejoice after hearing the latest vote.
The Southwick Regional school board overwhelmingly approved a plan Tuesday night to bring back high school sports for the winter season. The official vote was 6-1 in favor of playing winter sports.
The decision was made with the intentions of the Southwick Rams adhering to modifications set forth by the Pioneer Valley Interscholastic Athletic Conference and Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association in relation to COVID-19 protocols, including individual sport modifications.
The decision to participate in practice and competition will also come at the discretion of Southwick-Tolland-Granville Regional School District Superintendent of Schools Jennifer Willard, Principal Joe Turmel, and Athletic Director Dave Sanschagrin.
Sanschagrin has already begun working in conjunction with several winter coaches to formulate additional criteria and safeguards to protect the school’s student-athletes.
“I’m just happy for our seniors,” Southwick boys basketball coach Peter Fiorentino said. “I just want them to have a chance to be able to play, whatever the season is.”
That means players like returning forwards Nate Goodwin and Grayson Poole will have the opportunity to play out their senior seasons for the Rams, assuming that coronavirus cases do not skyrocket in the coming weeks and the school is forced to go fully remote.
“Obviously I want to coach; I love to do it,” coach Fiorentino said. “It would have been terrible to miss two consecutive seasons.”
The Southwick Regional school board made the decision to cancel competitive play for boys and girls soccer, cross country, and field hockey this past fall, only allowing golf to participate in MIAA-sanctioned sporting events. Intramural sports were also held.
With more data related to the coronavirus available and concrete plans now in place throughout the region, especially in relation to who is and is not a “red” city or town, it appears the Southwick School Committee was more accepting of going forward with high school sports, hence the “yes” vote.
Winter sports practices are expected to begin Jan. 11 with games expected a week or so later.

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