There are seven Long Island high school tennis teams vying for the two spots in next Friday’s New York State Public High School Athletic Association girls team championships at the National Tennis Center in Queens.
At least one of these teams would not be able to send its regular lineup due to the city’s COVID-19 restrictions for indoor events, which require all participants to have at least one vaccination shot.
Bayport-Blue Point meets Friends Academy on Monday at 14 in Eisenhower Park in the small school section, where the winner goes on to play on Friday in Queens.
“If we win, our lineup in Queens will be different because of the vaccine requirement,” Bayport-Blue Point coach Keith Sharf said via text message. “We just take it one step at a time and work our hardest in practice to play the best we’ve played all season against Friends Academy on Monday.”
Asked about the status of their players, Friends Academy coach Owen Kassimir replied in an email: “I do not know yet.”
Half Hollow Hills East is one of four semifinalists in the Suffolk postseason tournament for major schools. It will face Harborfields, while Westhampton will face Floyd in Monday’s semi-finals, with the county championship game on Tuesday and the Long Island championship against Nassau champion Syosset scheduled for Wednesday. The winner of Wednesday’s match goes on to play at the National Tennis Center.
“If we were to make it, the vaccine mandate would not actually affect our team,” Hills East coach Steve Farantello said via text message. “[We] would be able to put our solid lineup on track. “
NYSPHSAA CEO Robert Zayas said all sections received the protocols for playing at the National Tennis Center on September 9, and that it specifically said participants must comply with venue restrictions in order to compete.
“They know the requirements, but we have not specifically asked our players about vaccinations,” said Westampton Sports Director Kathy Masterson. “I sent an email to all the tennis parents early because I thought it was the diligent thing to do, but the decision is up to them. We have hard matches to win to get there, so we count no chickens. Will cross that bridge when we get to it. “
“We have not asked the players,” Floyd coach Dave Pia said via text message. “Right now we are concentrating on our next match.”
Harborfield’s athletic director Rob Franco said he “could not comment” on the players’ vaccination status, adding “we all just want the team to continue to win.”
“The truth is, right now we do not know [vaccination] status of each player, “said Syosset athletic director Drew Cronin.” We also know that a player’s status may change between now and the match on Wednesday. “
The girls’ tennis singles and doubles championships are currently being held indoors in Schenectady without the need for vaccination.
Zayas explained in an interview with Newsday earlier this week that state championship events are planned well in advance, including contracts with venues, hotel and travel accommodations for participants from across the state and the appointment of gaming officials, among others. He said the logistics of changing a website at short notice would be virtually impossible.
“In my opinion, it is obvious that this will be a problem for many teams,” Pia wrote in a text, “the page needs to be changed.”