Mt. Abe JV boys’ hoop paused for COVID

BRISTOL — The Mount Abraham Union High School junior varsity boys’ basketball team has canceled practices and games this week after one of its players allegedly tested positive for COVID-19.

The school’s varsity and JV boys’ teams opened their season last Friday, Feb. 12, by hosting Enosburg Falls High School, which is located in Franklin County.

A couple of days later, Mount Abe Athletic Director Devin Wendel notified Enosburg Athletic Director Anthony Sorrentino that a Mount Abe JV player had tested positive for the disease, and likely had been positive during the Feb. 12 game, Sorrentino told the Independent on Friday.

Enosburg JV boys’ basketball players were in quarantine through this past week and were expected to receive COVID-19 tests on Friday, Sorrentino said.

Wendel did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

MAUSD Superintendent Patrick Reen declined to provide any information about the situation, or to confirm that there even was a situation, citing the need to “maintain confidentiality.”

On Thursday Reen said be believed the high school had had three positive or presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in the previous seven days.

Unlike the Addison Central and Addison Northwest school districts, MAUSD does not maintain a COVID-19 reporting dashboard on its website.

MAUSD students were on February break this week, but high school athletics have for the most part continued without pause — they players continue to maintain state-mandated social distancing rules and are playing games while wearing masks in gyms with no spectators. Mount Abe’s JV boys basketball, however, canceled all practices and games this week, according to the school’s website.

Mike Nolan, coach of the North Country Union High School JV boys’ basketball team confirmed in an email Thursday that Mount Abe had canceled the Feb. 19 game between the two JV teams, though he had not been notified of the reason.

Sorrentino spoke highly of Wendel and expressed appreciation for the way Mount Abe’s athletic director reached out to notify Enosburg officials of the COVID case in a timely fashion, he said.

“I have nothing but the highest respect for Devin,” Sorrentino said. “We have a great working relationship.”

Such relationships will be key to keeping student athletes safe during the pandemic, said Enosburg Falls Principal Joseph Donarum.

“That’s what’s going to make the system work and allow us to keep going with (school sports),” Donarum said.

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Addison County Independent