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High school athletics

North Haven, Vinalhaven opt out of fall sports

Vikings, Hawks combine in some fall, spring sports, independent in winter athletics
By Staff | Sep 08, 2020
Artwork by: Holly Vanorse Spicer North Haven Hawk and Vinalhaven Viking, the schools' mascots.

After Camden Hills Regional High School of Rockport became the first school statewide to declare its intention not to compete in interscholastic athletics this fall, two other Midcoast schools have followed suit.

Vinalhaven School and North Haven Community School, neighboring islands in Penobscot Bay, also will not participate in sports this fall, joining a list of schools that include CHRHS, Deer Isle-Stonington and Sumner of East Sullivan which have opted out due to safety concerns during the pandemic.

Vinalhaven made its announcement on its school’s Facebook page on Monday, Sept. 7 in a joint statement co-signed by Superintendent Rick Lyons, Principal Monte Selby, Assistant Principal Bryan Feezor and athletic director Sandy Nelson.

Both island schools, which offer combined soccer as a fall varsity sport (though they occasionally have had individual cross-country runners in year’s past as well), also have pulled out of the Busline League, which has middle school-sponsored sports from Searsport to Wiscasset.

“After extensive conversations with school and local experts, and integrating the position of the CDC, the Maine Principals’ Association and the Maine School Boards Association, we have decided not to compete in competitive league soccer play,” said the joint statement from Vinalhaven. “Rather, we will be providing a robust intramural program with skill set sessions and internal competition.

“It was a difficult decision and we are disappointed for our players. The safety challenges associated with travel and competitive play led us to believe this is the best decision for all Vinalhaven students and staff.”

North Haven made its announcement in late August. The Hawks will offer intramural sports, including a running club and a golf club, according to athletic director Laura MacDonald.

“The decision was not an easy one to make and not taken lightly,” she said. “So many factors to think about, but we wanted to make sure everyone was safe with all of the uncertainties of COVID-19. But our kids are excited for the clubs we are offering and are looking forward to a great fall season.”

North Haven Community School Principal John Dow added: “Considering the challenges that COVID-19 has given us, we are really excited to be able to provide our students with an intramural sports program that utilizes our community and provide our students with diverse and exciting athletic opportunities.”

For schools who opt to participate in interscholastic sports this fall, the first day of high school sports practices and tryouts — which have been pushed back multiple times due to COVID-19 safety concerns — is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 14.

Courier Publications' sports staff can be reached by email at sports@villagesoup.com or by phone at 594-4401.

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