Montco sports being put on hold puts rosters at a disadvantage


Beth Mitchell

As North Penn sports, and other high schools in the Montgomery County area are put at an halt for 2-weeks, some may see this is as unfair advantage to the schools in Bucks County that do not have to shut down.

On Friday the 13th, the Montgomery County Board of Health Directors unanimously voted to make all K-12 learning virtual and suspend any type of extracurricular activities. For North Penn, that meant that the Swimming and Diving teams, Track and Field, Girls and Boys Basketball, Hockey, Wrestling, and Bowling all have to be put on pause for a minimum of 2 weeks. The peculiar thing about this, specifically for North Penn, is that other schools outside of Montgomery County will still be allowed to hold practices, which some believe will create an unbalance in athletic competition.

Many of North Penn’s opponents in all sports are outside of Montgomery County. Out of the 23 teams that make up Suburban One League, over 56% do not reside in Montgomery County. This means that while 10 of SOL teams have to go virtual and not have any types of practices, the other 13 teams are able to get a decent amount of work in and a full 2-week head starts at the minimum. While Suburban One did postpone the start of the Winter season until at least December 22nd, the extra volunteer workout time is crucial for certain teams. Swimming and Diving Coach Jeff Fakish knows that it is a minor setback but is confident that his coaching staff and players will be able to bounce back.

“All we can do is follow the guidelines given to us by the governor and our school district,” Fakish said. “We will prepare as if everything is on the same playing field and given the circumstances we have to adjust to.”

Coach Fakish knows that a 2 week period of any sport can be very crucial. Preseason allows a coach and the athletes to figure out how they want to play the whole season and what the strengths and weaknesses are. The swimming team just had their first practices this past week and now they have to shut down immediately. Fakish pointed to the strong North Penn community that will allow for the Knights to compete this year and look to win another state title.

“We absolutely have the coaching staff and parents to support our athletes,” Fakish said. “Both the district and families can find that connection to pull [a successful season] off. However, pulling it off this year is going to be like no other, but I am confident that we can do it.”

Looking at the hardwood, the Knights boys and girls basketball had voluntary workouts before having to cease any practice for the next two weeks. An athlete who looked to translate his success from the gridiron to the basketball court was Junior Levi Caroll. He transferred to North Penn this year and wanted to make a difference for a basketball team that just squeaked into the playoffs last year as the 16 seed. He was disappointed that the season was going to be put on pause.

“It is honestly a shame,” Caroll said. “I had a couple of runs in the gym with the team and I liked it a lot. A lot of guys working hard and [Coach] Conrad was making sure we were doing everything to the best of our ability.”

With a lot of big seniors missing, Caroll will make an immediate impact on the floor.

“To me, it seems like a headstart,” Caroll said. “Other schools are able to keep having practices while we are stuck [at home]. That does not really seem fair to me. I think just working hard and doing what we do best is going to overcome that obstacle, though.”

Track and Field were just about to get underway as well when North Penn was forced to close. senior Jayden Cartwright, who runs in the 400m, 800m, 4x400m, 4x800m, was locked in on being a part of a Track Team that constantly placed at the top of events and win a league and district title.

“I’ve been running on my own and with a couple of other teammates for weeks,” Cartwright said. “This senior season is really important to me, and I just want to have fun while winning a lot of events.”

Despite the delayed SOL season and other schools being able to continue with practice, Cartwright remains optimistic.

“It’s just the reality of the situation,” Cartwright said. “During these 2 weeks, I am still going to be running constantly and making sure I do not lose a step. I think a lot of my teammates will do the same and Coach Jones will have us ready when we return to practice.”

All practices and activities are suspended until at least December 6th. By then, we will know if that suspension will be continued or if the Knights will be able to compete for league titles across the board.