After an Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) mosquito was found in Topsfield last week, the Masconomet Regional athletic department has been doing everything it can to ensure the safety of its athletes.
The Board of Health issued an order for all fields to be closed and outdoor sports at schools to be canceled until barrier spraying occurs. While the spraying will happen this evening, the sports teams have had to find other alternatives to playing and practicing outside.
“We hope to be back on the field by (tomorrow) afternoon,” said Masco athletic director John Daileanes. “But we need to wait for the official word for the Boxford Health Department.”
The Chieftains’ boys and girls soccer teams have moved their practices inside to the fieldhouse and gym. Despite the small spaces, both coaches are making the best out of the situation.
“Practices in the gym have been a little crazy,” admitted girls head coach Paula Yanakakis. “We’re treating it as if they were rain practices. Most of the practices inside are much quicker because the space is much smaller and the girls are able to get a lot more touches with the ball.”
For the time being the girls have practiced in the gym while the boys practice in the larger fieldhouse. Masconomet’s volleyball team was away this past Monday, so girls soccer was able to have free reign of the gym — but that could change this afternoon.
The coaches have remained flexible with their schedules and are aware that these things happen during the fall season. Last year, a similar situation occurred at another Cape Ann League school, Georgetown. It’s also not unusual for this time of year for schools to put curfews on sporting events and eliminating the night games because of the mosquito problem.
All of the home games at Masconomet have since been moved to away sites. Yesterday the boys were scheduled to play Newburyport at home under the lights, but it was changed to an away game and moved to the afternoon.