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Roanoke private high schools juggle fall sports decisions

Roanoke Catholic to delay fall seasons while North Cross holds out hope for games this fall.
Published: Aug. 7, 2020 at 5:20 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - As the start of the school year rapidly approaches, two of Roanoke’s private high schools are having to make tough decisions as it relates to a fall sports season.

“Without having those Friday Night Lights, and the camaraderie and the school spirit that fall sports really brings to the start of every new school year—it’s hard to describe,” said Roanoke Catholic athletic director Matt Peck.

Peck confirmed the Celtics will follow a similar model to the VHSL plan, pulling the plug on fall sports while exploring the possibility of moving them to later in the school year.

“It’s especially sad for those athletes because I know that they want to get out there,” said Peck. “They want to be active. They want to represent our school. They just want to play, and here we are, another sports season that’s basically done in by COVID-19.”

Meanwhile, at North Cross, athletic director Blair Trail isn't ready to rule out a fall sports season for the Raiders.

“Athletics is a huge part of a North Cross School education and so we are doing everything we can to continue with a fall program,” she said. “We’re trying to find as many games, matches, meets that we can and sort of forge ahead.”

Trail said, recently, the biggest challenge has been finding opponents to schedule. She estimated less than 30 percent of VIC/BRC programs are still willing to participate in a fall season.

She also said boarding schools have been more inclined to schedule only other boarding schools, where COVID-19 testing regulations are more uniform amongst each other.

Despite the challenges, Trail says no fall sports are currently off the table for North Cross.

The back-up plan if no games are played this fall would be similar to the VHSL and Roanoke Catholic model.

“We just hope our parents understand we’re doing what’s best for our kids and sometimes it’s out of our hands,” Trail said. “Athletic directors, we want nothing more than to be watching our kids play right now, so we’re doing everything we can.”

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