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Bertie High School cancels 2020 volleyball season

With the official start of girls volleyball practice at North Carolina public high schools slated for next week, two local schools have opted not to compete due to factors linked to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bertie High School and Northampton County High School have both canceled their respective 2020 volleyball seasons, according to athletic officials at both schools.

“Bertie High School will not participate in volleyball this year,” said BHS Athletic Director Grantley Mizelle in an email sent to this newspaper on Thursday. “This is due to the school still being virtual and most of the volleyball season would take place before the new semester starts.”

Coach George Privott at Northampton County High School said that the 2020 volleyball season is canceled, as is the 2020 cross country season.

According to the North Carolina High School Athletic Association’s (NCHSAA) revised sports calendar for 2020-21, volleyball teams statewide will be permitted to hold their first practices on Nov. 4 with a limited 14-game regular season schedule running from Nov. 16 until Jan. 8. Cross country teams will use that same schedule, with the exception of limiting regular season competition to 10 meets.

Mizelle added that all off-season workouts involving any Bertie High School athlete are also suspended at this time.

Meanwhile, the 2020 volleyball season at both Hertford County High School and Gates County High School will proceed as planned.

The Lady Bears only have seven matches currently listed in their schedule: a non-conference outing on Nov. 23 at Gates County followed by conference matches vs. Northeastern (home on Dec. 3; at Currituck County (Dec. 10), at Pasquotank County (Dec. 15); at Northeastern (Dec. 21) and home matches vs. Pasquotank (Dec. 22) and Currituck (Jan. 5).

The Lady Red Barons volleyball season opens Nov. 19 at home with a 5 pm non-conference match vs. North Edgecombe. Their limited schedule includes four non-conference matches (two vs. North Edgecombe and one each vs. Hertford County and Williamston-Riverside), and home/away Albemarle Conference matches vs. Manteo, Perquimans, Camden County, and Edenton-Holmes.

“We are a full go for athletics, workouts and games, for now. That decision was made earlier by our county’s board of education,” stated GCHS Athletic Director Jacob Harrell.

As to what the future holds for athletics at Gates County High, Harrell said, “Like everything else we are taking things day to day. The plan is to have athletics all year, but we [Administration, Central Office, Board of Education] will have to evaluate how things are going with both cross country and volleyball and take it from there.”

Hertford County High School Athletic Director Charles Simmons said the same holds true for his department.

“All decisions regarding athletic participation in competitions will be determined by the Hertford County Board of Education. The Board did decide to allow teams to begin conditioning workouts on Monday, Nov. 2,” Simmons noted.

Mizelle stated that he hopes Bertie High School athletics will return to action at the start of 2021.

“We are hoping to be able to play sports if we are back in school and out of Phase 3 [as mandated by NC Governor Roy Cooper),” Mizelle said, “but it will ultimately be a district decision.”

The NCHSAA sports calendar calls for basketball (girls and boys) practice to open Dec. 7 with a 14-game regular season from Jan. 4 until Feb. 19. Boys soccer practice is slated to begin Jan. 11 and a 14-game regular season will follow from Jan. 25 until March 12.

Football practice is scheduled to begin Feb. 8 with a seven-game regular season lasting from Feb. 26 until April 9.

The golf, tennis, girls soccer, softball, baseball, track & field and wrestling seasons are slated to run, at various times, from March 1 through June 11.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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