There’s still hope. It’s just been pushed back to spring.
“That’s all we have right now,” Chesapeake College athletic director Frank Szymanski said of the hope his school holds for playing its two fall sports seasons — men’s soccer and women’s volleyball — this spring.
Based on recommendations from its presidential advisory council and board of regents, the National Junior College Athletic Association announced July 13 its decision to move the majority of competition to the spring semester based on the ongoing health concerns with the COVID-19 virus.
Chesapeake canceled its 2020 spring season because of the virus.
“Our greatest focus is and always has been providing the best opportunities for our student-athletes,” Dr. Christopher Parker, NJCAA president and CEO, said in a statement posted on the NJCAA’s website. “Through a unified effort from our Presidential Advisory Council, the Board of Regents, and leadership staff, our most recent plan of action provides a path that keeps our student-athletes competing at the highest level and proper safety measures in place. As we move forward as an association, we will continue to provide opportunities four our student-athletes, coaches, and all those involved with the NJCAA to be safe and successful.”
The NJCAA’s plan moves all close-contact fall sports — football, men’s and women’s soccer and volleyball — to the spring semester. The NJCAA cross country championships will remain as originally scheduled in the fall, as will Division III women’s tennis.
Chesapeake only has men’s soccer and women’s volleyball in the fall.
The NJCAA said all winter sports are scheduled to begin in January, with the majority of championships being shifted from March to April. Chesapeake has both men’s and women’s basketball programs.
The NJCAA’s spring sports seasons are still to be played as scheduled. Chesapeake has baseball and softball in the spring.
“There’s just so much uncertainty that I definitely support the decision,” Szymanski said. “It’s like we talked about, the hope of improvement and a vaccine, so we can get back to collegiate sports.
“It’s going to be very challenging for us just because we’re going to try hopefully to compete in six sports in four months,” said Szymanski, who in addition to be the school’s longtime athletic director is also Chesapeake’s head baseball coach.
Szymanski said the plan is for basketball to start, then baseball and softball, with soccer and volleyball to follow later in the spring.
Chesapeake’s men’s soccer team was looking to improve on a 1-12 record under second-year head coach Tony Lhotsky this season, while the volleyball team was hoping to better its 5-12 slate under second-year head coach Emily George.
“I’m hoping we have the opportunity,” Szymanski said. “That’s the drive now, is to have that opportunity, and then be creative enough to handle that schedule with the personnel and the staff that we have.”