CIAC announces adjustments to winter, spring sports plans

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By Kyle Brennan, Citizen’s News

In a school year filled with more changes than a Kardashian’s closet, the CIAC announced Feb. 18 a series of adjustments to its winter and spring sports plans.

The most substantial change will allow schools to stage competitions in indoor track, competitive cheerleading and competitive dance in March. Previously, those teams were only allowed to work on conditioning and non-contact skill-building work.

Wrestling remains the only sport out in the cold. No meets, matches or practices, aside from conditioning, are allowed.

While these changes to the dwindling winter season may positively impact many larger schools, the benefits to smaller athletic programs, such as those at Naugatuck and Woodland, aren’t as substantial.

The CIAC only sanctioned indoor track dual meets, which means only two teams would be allowed in a single venue. With only a handful of indoor track venues in Connecticut, that restriction is prohibitive for most schools.

Woodland athletic director Chris Decker said that staging an indoor dual meet would be logistically impossible because the school would “have to find places” to compete, which would cost “way too much money.”

Instead, the Hawks and the Greyhounds plan to continue the conditioning workouts they’ve been allowed to host over the past month. Naugatuck athletic director Brian Mariano said that there’s a possibility of scheduling an outdoor dual meet sometime this month if the snow melts.

“Right now, they are really just preparing for the outdoor season,” Mariano said.

While the Greyhounds don’t have a dance team this year, they were set to begin competitive cheerleading practice March 1 and attempt “to safely put together a routine” since “the NVL is going to try and organize some type of event towards the end of March.”

Decker said that Woodland plans on maintaining the sideline cheer presence provided by the cheerleading and dance teams with no current plans of engaging in the virtual competition allowed by the CIAC.

The CIAC’s spring plans are still in the works, but the Feb. 18 announcement gave hope for a relatively normal spring season. The first spring practices can be held March 27 with the first competitions allowed April 10. Traditional state tournaments are tentatively set for June 1-13.

There are still plenty of details to be determined by the CIAC with regard to spring sports and COVID-19 protocols, which the organization said it would release sometime in March after further deliberation among its Board of Control and the Connecticut Department of Public Health.