Strongsville sports at standstill during teacher’s strike

Tim Rogers, The Plain Dealer, March 05, 2013 3:11 p.m.

STRONGSVILLE, Ohio - Strongsville school officials have suspended athletics and extra-curricular activities during the teacher’s strike but have no power to stop informal practices by student athletes at off-site facilities.

Strongsville baseball coach Josh Sorge is not conducting practice this week after school officials suspended athletics and extra-curricular activities during the teacher’s strike. – (Phil Long, Special to The Plain Dealer)

“We have suspended all athletic events and school-related extra-curricular activities for this week,” said assistant superintendent Cameron Ryba. “We have no announcement about what could happen beyond this week. If the strike lasts longer than this week we will make anotherstatement next week.”

The winter sports season has come to an end at the school, with its boys and girls basketball and hockey teams having been eliminated from the postseason and the wrestling, swimming and gymnastics seasons concluded.

Baseball and softball teams across the state were permitted to begin practice on Feb. 25, per Ohio High School Athletic Association rules. Operations were suspended Monday when the strike began, baseball coach Josh Sorge said.

Practice for the boys tennis and track and field teams cannot begin until Monday, accoording to OHSAA regulations.

“We are not sanctioning any school events involving athletics, but if our kids want to get together informally, as kids like to do, we cannot stop them,” said Ryba.

Sorge, who teaches English and journalism at the high school, said he had heard some members of his team were holding informal practice sessions on their own at an off-school site. He said he has not attended the practices and neither have pitching coach Jason Frederick or junior varsity coach Doug Cicerchi. Both men are Strongsville teachers.

Baseball, softball and track teams are permitted to begin competition on March 30. Tennis matches can begin April 1.

The baseball team is supposed to open its season on March 30 with a doubleheader in Cincinnati against Moeller and St. Xavier. Sorge said the trip has not yet been canceled.

Boys tennis coach Paul Martins, a retired Parma teacher, has suspended preseason conditioning. He said he did not know what is planned for formal practice until he talks with school administrators.

Martins said he has served as a substitute teacher at Strongsville but has not been called during the strike.

“I would not cross the picket line anyhow,” he said.

Other spring coaches could not be reached.

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