Susquehanna County schools will be livestreaming events in a winter sports season that is on the verge of starting almost six weeks later originally scheduled, but is still faced with limitations as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Montrose's Joe Gilhool, the president of the athletic directors' association, polled Lackawanna Interscholastic Athletic Association member schools last week on plans for handling various issues in the season ahead.
According a report Gilhool released Friday, five of the six Susquehanna County schools had livestreaming plans in place and the other, Mountain View, was working on its plan.
The video feeds allow fans to view games online when they are unable to attend. School districts have found them particularly useful to try to counter displeasure with fans being restricted from gymnasiums as part of public health policies during the pandemic.
Lackawanna Trail, which joins the six county schools in Lackawanna League Division 4 boys' and girls' basketball, did not have plans for livestreaming as of Friday.
Only Carbondale had not offered any input on its game night policies.
The other 23 schools in the LIAA, which oversees Lackawanna League sports, are allowing home cheerleaders only at events.
Policies on fans are not as uniform, in part because of the significant variance in sizes and seating capacities of high school gyms.
Elk Lake, Forest City, Montrose, Mountain View and Lackawanna Trail are not allowing fans at the start of the season.
Blue Ridge is allowing one spectator per athlete in the gym and two more per athlete to view from the auditorium.
Susquehanna is allowing one ticket each per home athlete and no more than 10 total spectator tickets for the visiting team.
All LIAA member schools are requiring basketball players and wrestlers to wear masks while competing. They are not allowing for exceptions.
Swimmers are allowed to remove masks before entering the pool for their races.
The Montrose at Susquehanna girls' basketball opener for Thursday and Susquehanna at Montrose boys' basketball opener for Friday have been postponed because of COVID-19 precautions at Montrose.
Montrose is the favorite in Lackawanna Division 4 girls while Susquehanna is the three-time defending champion.
The Lackawanna Division 4 girls' schedule is set to open Thursday with Mountain View at Lackawanna Trail and Blue Ridge at Forest City.
Riverside is at Elk Lake in a non-league game.
In boys' basketball, Lackawanna Trail is at Mountain View and Forest City is at Blue Ridge Friday in Lackawanna Division 4.
Mountain View won the division title last season when Lackawanna Trail finished second.
Elk Lake is at Riverside in a non-league game.
In boys' and girls' swimming, Elk Lake hosts Scranton Prep Friday in a Lackawanna League meet.
Scranton Prep is the defending girls' champion.
In wrestling, the Lackawanna League Division 2 season is scheduled to open Saturday with Mountain View at Elk Lake, Blue Ridge at Honesdale and Scranton Prep at Montrose.
TOM ROBINSON writes a weekly local sports column for the Susquehanna County Transcript. He can be reached online at RobbyTR@aol.com or followed on Twitter at @tomjrobinson.
Only in 2020 could the "Athlete of the Year" be someone who was stopped from competing by the middle of the third month.
Such is the case with the Susquehanna County Transcript's selection for the annual award.
Susquehanna's Taylor Huyck had a growing list of accomplishments by then, added another soon after play ended and could be considered likely to have done even more if the coronavirus pandemic had not stopped the Lady Sabers from continuing their state title pursuit.
Two of the athletes who excelled after the six-month shutdown of high school, as well as most youth, sports in Pennsylvania were also considered for the County Transcript's Athlete of the Year award.
Huyck was chosen over Blue Ridge's Hunter Heeman, a repeat all-state selection from the school's District 2 Class A champion girls' volleyball team, and Elk Lake's Chloe Sipe, who finished sixth individually and led her team to a third-place finish in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association's state championships in Class 2A golf.
Like the other two candidates, Huyck had both individual and team accomplishments.
Huyck became Susquehanna's all-time leading scorer in girls' basketball during the District 2 Class A championship game at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza. She repeated as Lackawanna League Division 4 Player of the Year, according to NEPABasketball.com, and after the season was officially cut short, repeated as all-state.
Pennsylvania Sports Writers moved Huyck up from third team as a junior to second-team, all-state honors in her final season.
Huyck committed to Elizabethtown College, but was unable to get her college career started when Elizabethtown, like most of the country's National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III basketball teams, did not play any games in November or December.
In her final high school season, Huyck averaged 15.7 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.8 steals, 2.5 assists and 0.8 blocked shots.
"She can do anything offensively," Kirk Fallon, Huyck's coach for her last two high school seasons, said at the time of her all-state selection. "She plays inside. She scores a lot from the perimeter. She's a slasher. She runs the point at times.
"And, she's really good on the other end of the court, too. She gets a lot of offensive opportunities with her defense."
Huyck led the Lady Sabers to a third straight perfect season in the division, a fourth straight District 2 title and a second straight berth in the state Class A quarterfinals. That quarterfinal game, however, was never played because of the coronavirus.
Susquehanna was nearly eliminated in the first round of state play before Huyck led the team back with a 28-point effort.
Taylor is the daughter of Wayne and Stacy Huyck of Susquehanna.