Winter sports tournaments canceled due to COVID-19 threat

The Staples girls’ basketball team celebrated their win against Norwalk High School during the FCIAC tournament. Their season has been cut short due to the cancelation of the CIAC tournament.

Photo by Lexie Moskovit ’21

The Staples girls’ basketball team celebrated their win against Norwalk High School during the FCIAC tournament. Their season has been cut short due to the cancelation of the CIAC tournament.

Molly Gold '21, Paper News Editor

The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) has canceled all remaining state tournament games due to concerns surrounding the spread of COVID-19. 

In an email sent out by the CIAC on March 10, the organization stated that many teams and neutral sites had already pulled out of the tournament prior to the announcement.

“After much consideration and consultation, the CIAC has made the difficult decision to cancel all remaining CIAC winter tournament games,” the email stated. “The CIAC understands the disappointment that student-athletes, parents, coaches, and administrators may feel as a result of this decision. However, we must always place our student-athletes’ health and safety first.”

The Staples boys’ basketball team was scheduled to play in the first round of states on Tuesday, March 10 and the girls’ team was scheduled to play in the semifinals on Friday, March 13. Both games have been canceled after the announcement. 

In an email, Principal Stafford W. Thomas Jr. acknowledged the news as well as the impact on student-athletes. 

None of us had the chance to say goodbye or know that it was the last time we would ever be with the seniors or they would even set foot on the basketball court.”

— Nicole Holmes '21

“[The cancelation] effectively ends the winter basketball season, as [sic] season in which both of our teams had a tremendous amount of success and were on the cusp of accomplishing even more extraordinary results this year,” Thomas wrote. 

As the state tournament marks the end of the season, the teams have no more games scheduled. Girls’ basketball player Nicole Holmes ’21 spent time with her teammates immediately following the announcement.

“We’re all just absolutely devastated,” Holmes said. “None of us had the chance to say goodbye or know that it was the last time we would ever be with the seniors or they would even set foot on the basketball court.”

A petition has been started by a former Fairfield Prep hockey player in order to have the games reinstated. Within five hours of being posted, the petition had received over 51,700 online signatures and has been shared on popular website Barstool Sports

“After [losing] the FCIAC championship it was so hard gaining hope again, but we worked even harder every day just for the chance to get to the state championship,” Holmes said. “[N]ow, being one game away, it was all taken away from us. No warning, no more practice, no more […] anything.”