St. Anne’s-Belfield cancels basketball season for 2021

St. Anne’s-Belfield cancels basketball season for 2021
STAB's Justin Taylor dunks during the 2020 season (Source: WVIR)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - St. Anne’s-Belfield announced on Monday that both its girls and boys varsity basketball teams would not be competing in 2021.

The teams were hoping to play a seven game schedule this spring.

The girls canceled their season due to a lack of opponents adhering to the same protocols as the Saints, and the boys canceled due to contact tracing following the conclusion of team practice.

St. Anne’s-Belfield Athletics Media Release

Charlottesville, Va. — Like gameplay, COVID-19 has required coaches and student-athletes to make quick pivots, change strategy, and show resilience in the face of long odds. St. Anne’s-Belfield’s boys and girls basketball teams are flexing their resilience muscles this week, as the School announces that it can not have a condensed competitive season as originally announced in a communication to families and students on Jan. 23.

Previously, Varsity Boys and Girls Basketball were tentatively aiming for a season consisting of seven to 10 games from Feb. 13 through March 5 against league schools who were utilizing heightened mitigation strategies and modifications, including testing protocols, playing in specially-designed athletic masks, and increased sanitation of high-touch surfaces. On the girls’ side, a lack of league schools following these same protocols made gameplay untenable without risking the School community, which has successfully been open for on-campus learning since August.

“With COVID-19 all our norms have changed and sports are affected, just like everything else in our country.” says Varsity Girls’ Basketball Head Coach Phil Stinnie. “I’m disappointed for the kids, especially the seniors. But I appreciate our School administration giving an effort to make a season happen.”

For boys, COVID-19 contact tracing has ended the season after the conclusion of team practice and before the start of competition.

“We’ve known since the beginning that any given day in the gym could be the season’s last and have approached each week with that in mind,” says Varsity Boys’ Basketball Head Coach Damin Altizer. Though the timing is unfortunate, I’m unbelievably proud of the resiliency our kids have shown day in and day out. While our underclassmen will have countless competitive opportunities this spring and summer, I’m most disappointed for our seniors. We’re looking into an inter-squad game following spring break so they will be able to put on a STAB jersey one last time.”

In this most unusual year, St. Anne’s-Belfield remains extremely proud of the dedication, team work, and grit exhibited by its student-athletes. And while competitions may not be happening, Stinnie, Altizer, and Director of Athletics Dewayne Robinson will continue to look for creative ways to honor and celebrate the collective efforts of the teams, seniors in particular.

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