Last year, high school seniors in New York State, if they were lucky, played their final basketball games in mostly empty gyms with masks covering two thirds of their friends and coaches faces. Many schools opted not to play entirely. There were no championships. The mask part won't be much different for now but full gyms are expected and even encouraged for the NYSPHSAA championships in 2022. That is a good thing for everyone involved, even if you still can't see the smile.

photo by Sasha Jo
photo by Sasha Jo
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Tuesday the New York State Public High School Athletic Association announced "it will be subject to the New York State Department of Health guidance for large-scale indoor events for two of its state tournaments—the Wrestling Individual Championships and the Boys Basketball Championships—in which all attendees ages 5 and older will be required to show proof of full vaccination or a negative test upon entry into the venue. In accordance with NYSDOH, the guidance is “in effect for large-scale indoor events of 5,000 attendees or greater.”

Photo by Sasha Jo
Photo by Sasha Jo
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According to the release, "all attendees ages five and older including coaches and athletes at the Wrestling Championships, held on February 25-26 at MVP Arena in Albany, and the Boys Basketball Championships, held on March 18-20 at Cool Insuring Arena in Glens Falls, will be required to show proof of full vaccination at the turnstiles of each venue or a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of the event. NYSPHSAA is working with both venues in an effort to offer on-site testing and additional details will be made available when finalized."

Photo by Quasham M
Photo by Quasham M
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“As the governing body for interscholastic athletics in New York state, it is important that we adhere to NYSDOH guidelines that are in place for the health and safety of participants and fans,” said Dr. Robert Zayas, NYSPHSAA Executive Director. “A year ago, hosting state championship events was not possible. Thankfully, we now have the ability to provide participation opportunities for students under the direction of public health officials.”

Photographer Sasha Jo
Photographer Sasha Jo
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An important aspect of the is announcement is the understanding of the NYSDOH guidelines. The guidelines consider full vaccination is defined as having received the second Moderna or Pfizer vaccine shot or single Johnson & Johnson dose) at least 14 days prior to the start of each tournament. Proof must be provided in paper form, digitally, or by presenting the State’s Excelsior Pass. Masks will be required at all events.

Wrestling action. Studio shot over black.
Getty Images/iStockphoto
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For those wishing to attend the NYSPHSAA Indoor Track State Championships at Ocean Breeze Athletic Complex on March 5th, New York City Parks and Recreation is requiring spectators, ages five and older, to show proof of full vaccination. 104.5 FM The Team will keep you posted of any changes.

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