The curtain that rang down with a thud on high school sports last March may soon be raised, at least insofar as the low-to-moderate-risk sports of boys and girls winter track, boys swimming, and bowling are concerned.
East Hampton High's winter track teams are to practice and compete outdoors this year -- with masks on during their practices and weekend meets. Boys swimming will, as usual, be based at the Y.M.C.A. East Hampton RECenter, and bowling is to practice and compete at the All Star bowling alley in Riverhead.
Mike Vitulli's bowlers have practiced the past three seasons at the Clubhouse in Wainscott, which is closed for the time being because of the coronavirus pandemic. Scott Rubenstein, who manages the Clubhouse as well as the East Hampton Indoor Tennis Club next door to it, had been "fantastic," Vitulli said.
Coaches said in telephone conversations Sunday that they were reasonably sure that proper safety measures could be followed -- on the track, in the pool, on the lanes (the All Star has 28 of them), and in the buses.
The athletes, meanwhile, are reportedly delighted that sports are being revived here. "They've been going stir-crazy," said Mike Buquicchio, Ben Turnbull's assistant with the boys track team, whose numbers, he added, have never been higher. "We had more than 30 as of a week ago, which is really high, and we could wind up having even more," he said. Switchovers from the postponed "high-risk" sports of basketball and wrestling had contributed to the big turnout, Buquicchio said.
Yani Cuesta, the girls winter track coach, also stands to benefit numbers-wise. "Melina Sarlo, who I think will make a good sprinter and middle-distance runner, would have played basketball, and then there are girls [on the list of 15] who have been out for spring track, but have never done winter track."
Cuesta added that Joe Vas, East Hampton's athletic director, is to ask the school board if her charges can practice inside "if there's inclement weather or if we have a situation with Covid-19."
Presumably, the indoor distances such as the 55-meter dash, the 55 hurdles, the 300, 600, 1,000, 1,500, and 3,000 that have been contested on the 200-meter indoor track at Suffolk Community College in Brentwood will be run outdoors this winter, the track coaches said. Field events are to be held the day before the meets, which, for the boys, will be on Saturdays, and which, for the girls, will be on Saturdays and Sundays. Each team is to have three at-home meets and three on the road, with the season to end Feb. 14.
Bowling has 12 matches lined up, with seven of them at the All Star, and boys swimming, which won league titles in 2019 and 2020, going undefeated each time, is to have eight meets, four of which will be at the Y.M.C.A. RECenter. Craig Brierley, the team's coach, said Monday that while he didn't know his exact numbers yet, "we should have a very strong core again . . . the kids are champing at the bit."