PARIS — Omicron is bearing down on Maine but for Oxford Hills athletes it has yet to keep them out of the gym or off the slopes and ice.

All of SAD 17’s sports teams started their practice season in November, following fall play-offs, as planned and started competitive play in early December. The girls’ basketball team is undefeated and the boys had lost just one game as of Jan. 10.

Even wrestling, whose season was scrapped last year because of the pandemic and recently threatened by a lack of officials, has been able to compete.

“Our wrestling team is doing well,” reports Oxford Hills Athletic Director Kevin Ryan. “There are fewer on the team this year, but all of the classes we compete in, we are full. And we’ve been able to have all events” so far.

Ella Pelletier of Oxford Hills shoots over the fingertips of Auburn defenders during a Dec. 2021 home game Brewster Burns

With the exception of track and field, which are held mostly at college facilities with their own restrictions, all indoor games are open to spectators.

Team members are allocated a set number of vouchers for games that they can distribute to family and friends, who can swap them at the door to buy tickets to watch the game. Teams from away are also allowed a limited number of vouchers. Up to 400 spectators can attend Oxford Hills home games.

For ice hockey players, who compete on an inter-school team with Lake Region and Fryeburg, their games are held at Bridgton Academy where there there are no restrictions to admission.

Ryan said that a couple of games have been postponed due to other teams dealing with COVID issues. He is hopeful all teams will get in at least close to a complete season.

Like last fall, this winter will see an open play-off season to make sure that even teams unable to play out their full schedule will get their chance to participate.

“Omicron is having its effect,” Ryan said. “But our teams are following best practices and doing their part to follow the guidance.”

 

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