The Mitch Lalonde Memorial set to continue

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A surprising and unexpected result of high school sports over the years has been the incredible endurance of the novice age group in a few selected team sports.

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Formerly known as the midget, this age group, at least for team sports, was supposed to have its days counted after the province’s age groups moved from a school year to a school system. calendar year some time ago.

The new system of calendar year age brackets effectively divides juniors and seniors in the middle, allowing most high school students past and present to be eligible for two years for each group. of age.

With some sports offering novice team sports, this meant one year of novice eligibility, one year of junior, and the remaining two years of senior.

With dwindling enrollment and the resources available for teachers and coaches going with the flow, it has been estimated that novice team sports will die of natural causes soon after the age change, and although it does seem that too recently to be the case with fall sports, winter sports like boys ‘basketball and girls’ volleyball continues to blow.

In fact, novice women’s volleyball appears to be experiencing a resurgence this year, drawing a total of eight teams into the fold, down from just six the year before the pandemic.

And the SDSSAA is not unique in this regard either. A quick survey of other athletic administrators across the province found that a handful of other regions also offer entry-level team sports, with one bringing them all into the spring sporting season.

For schools with the necessary resources, the Novice can be a great introduction to high school sports for any minor, making it easier for an aspiring student-athlete to integrate into the system and teach them skills that will bode well for them in the future. their junior and senior years. It’s also a great way to get the most out of a student’s overall high school experience, making friends from day one that can last a lifetime.

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How long can beginner team sports last? Hard to say, but at least for now, there is no end in sight …

High school grades

In addition to the three days of snow already in the books thus far, here are two surer signs of winter in high school sports:

1) the men’s hockey league splits into two distinct divisions after games played next week; and

2) the first preliminary Nordic ski race of the season is scheduled for next Wednesday at Windy Lake.

And finally, this week it really was music to everyone’s ears to hear that the very first Mitch Lalonde Memorial Basketball Tournament was going on this weekend, not just because it signals another small step. towards post-pandemic normalcy for all participants, but also because it represents a fitting tribute to a man who left a huge legacy in high school sport.

Kudos to Lasalle senior coach and organizer Joel Rehel for making it happen. This one’s for you, Mitch.

Dave Makela is the Athletic Administrator for the Sudbury District Secondary Schools Athletic Association. His column is weekly during the high school sports season.